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    MATAGORDA, TEXAS

    Matagorda County, Texas Gulf Coast
    State Highway 60
    At the Intracostal Waterway
    92 miles SW of Houston
    22 miles S of Bay City
    47 miles S of Wharton
    87 miles E of Victoria
    62 miles E of Port Lavaca

    Population 605 (1990 & 2000)

    Matagorda, Texas Area Hotels > Bay City Hotels

    Matagorda TX Beach
    Matagorda Beach
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine

    Matagorda History in a Seashell

    For such a sleepy place - Matagorda has a lot of History.

    It was established in 1827 when Stephen F. Austin got permission from Mexico to build a town. Fifty-two families from New York and New England became the first settlers. It was incorporated in 1830 and two years later it had over 1400 people.

    During the Mexican invasion, Matagorda was abandoned. When the people returned after San Jacinto, they formed a county and made Matagorda the county seat in 1836. The town continued to proper and soon got a newspaper as well as several schools.

    The Civil War created a tense atmosphere as Matagorda was a port for blockade runners. Although it was never invaded, the town was fired on by Federal ships. After the war, the "Plantation economy" suffered from want of labor.

    Hurricanes repeatedly swept the area, which perhaps explains the expanses of open land today. Bay City became the Matagorda County Seat in 1894 when they figured an inland courthouse might be safer.

    A hurricane in 1942 forced the county to build a levee. It was wise planning for it minimized damage in 1961 when Hurricane Carla hit the area. By 1950 the population had declined to 650 people. It has continued a slow decline to reach the (1990) population of 605.

    Matagorda Centennial Marker
    Matagorda Historic Landmarks/Attractions
    -
    Historic churches, homes, lodge, cemetery, bridges...

    Texas Centennial Marker:

    City of Matagorda

    Projected site of a town in 1826. Founded in 1829 with Stephen F. Austin, Elias R. Wightman, Hosea H. League and Ira Ingram as proprietors. Third largest town in Texas in 1834. Incorporated January 28, 1839. County seat of Matagorda County, 1837-1894. Badly wrecked by storms in 1854 and 1875. An early cultural center of Texas as evidenced by schools, churches and press.
    Matagorda Texas - City Of Matagorda Centennial Marker
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009
    Click on image for photo of text close-up
    Matagorda Historic Landmarks/Attractions
    Matagorda Tx - Christ Episcopal Church
    Christ Episcopal Church with markers
    Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009
    Matagorda Tx - Christ Episcopal Church historical marker
    Christ Episcopal Church historical marker
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009

    Texas Centennial Marker:

    Christ Church
    On a site approximately 400 yards east stood Christ Church. First Episcopal church in Texas. Organized January 27, 1839. The Rev. Caleb S. Ives, Rector. Building consecrated February 25, 1844 by the Rt. Rev. Leonidas Polk,, D.D., Bishop of Louisiana. Diocese of Texas established January 1, 1849. Building destroyed by hurricane September 11, 1854. Rebuilt on present site. The Rev. Mr. Ives and his wife established and taught an early school in connection with the parish.
    Matagorda Tx - Christ Church Centennial Marker
    Christ Church Centennial Marker
    On Cypress and Lewis
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009
    Matagorda Texas - Matagorda Methodist Church
    Matagorda Methodist Church
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009
    Matagorda Texas - Matagorda Methodist Church historical marker
    Matagorda Methodist Church Historical Marker
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine
    Matagorda Tx - St. Peter's Baptist Church Historical Marker
    St. Peter's Baptist Church
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009
    Matagorda Tx - St. Peter's Baptist Church Historical Marker
    St. Peter's Baptist Church Historical Marker
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009
    Matagorda Tx - Historic Culver Home
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009
    The Culver Home
    Recorded Texas Historic Landmark
    Matagorda, Texas historic home
    The Dale-Rugley-Sisk Home
    TE Photo
    Historical Marker Text:
    Dale-Rugeley-Sisk Home ca. 1830

    Has withstood many hurricanes. A cultural, social, political center. Home of: A. C. Horton, 1st lieutenant-governor of Texas and governor 7 months; Rev. Caleb Ives, 1st rector of 1st Episcopal Church in Texas; W. L. Sartwell, partner in Ives-Sartwell-Academy; a leading churchwoman, Mrs. S. M. Dale; F. L. Rugeley, son of a Confederate leader; Robt. J. Sisk, pioneer in rice, oil and land development. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1964
    Matagorda Texas - Matagorda Masonic Lodge/Library
    Matagorda Lodge on Marice and Fisher, Matagorda
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, 2008
    Click on image for photo of Matagorda Lodge Historical Marker

    Historical Marker Text:

    Matagorda Lodge No. 7, A.F. & A.M.

    One of the oldest Masonic lodges in Texas, this lodge traces its history to the Republic of Texas. A group of masons met together on June 24, 1838, and petitioned the newly created Grand Lodge of Texas for a charter to Seth Ingram as first master.

    From its beginning, the Matagorda Lodge was active and influential in the community's development. The first services of Christ Episcopal Church were held in the Masonic Hall. The masons operated a lending library for the town's citizens and supported local public education projects.

    In 1868, due to a succession of financial difficulties and the strains of the Civil War, the Matagorda Lodge was deactivated. The members maintained interest in the lodge, however, and it was finally rechartered by the grand lodge in 1911 under its original number.

    Many prominent Texans have been affiliated with this lodge, including local and state government officials. The lodge has counted among its members veterans of the war of 1812, the Texas Revolution, Mexican War, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
    (1990)
    Matagorda Tx New Bridge under construction
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009
    Matagorda New Bridge
    Matagorda Old Draw Bridge
    Matagorda  TX - 1830 Matagorda Cemetery Gate
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2009
    Matagorda Cemetery
    Matagorda TX Fire Dept
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine, 2008
    Matagorda TX - Matagorda Bay Nature Park,  Roseate Spoon Bill
    Matagorda Bay Nature Park
    A 1600-acre park and preserve at the mouth of the Colorado River on the Matagorda Peninsula
    (979) 863-2603
    Photo courtesy Ken Rudine
    Matagorda Tx - Fishing Boat
    Matagorda Fishing Boat
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, February 2009
    Shrimp boats, Matagorda, Texas
    Shrimp Boats at Matagorda
    TE Photo
    Gulf cost water scene
    Water scene Near Matagorda
    TE Photo
    Church and date palm in Matagorda, Texas
    Church and Date Palm in Matagorda
    TE Photo
    Texas gulf coast architecture 1910 home
    Awaiting restoration - Typical Gulf Coast Architecture
    TE photo
    Matagorda Chronicles
  • Rafting Cotton from Bastrop to Matagorda by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales" column)
    During the 1840s and continuing through the Civil War, Central Texans saw the Colorado River as a transportation artery connecting them with the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Matagorda Tx - Welcome Sign
    Matagorda - "Where Texas History Began"
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, 2009
    Matagorda Texas Forum
  • Subject: Old Texas Swing Bridge
    It has come to my attention that the old Swing Bridge in Matagorda, TX is soon to be replaced by a more modern bridge. Is anyone researching or doing a documentary on the renovation of this historic bridge? Thanks. - Eryn Hall, July 16, 2005

  • Subject: Matagorda History
    Matagorda has historic significance, color, and is a very nice town. An interesting fact is that a huge logjam existed on the Colorado river near here for many years, and was cleared early last century, creating a division in Matagorda bay with a new river delta. Now we have East, and West Matagorda Bays. Cattle drives here are historic too. - Patrick Feagins, January 02, 2002

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    Bay City
    Wharton
    Port Lavaca
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    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories, and vintage/historic photos of their town, please contact us.

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