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PORT O'CONNOR, TEXAS

Calhoun County, Texas Gulf Coast

28 26' 51" N, 96 24' 19" W (28.4475, -96.405278)

Hwy 185 at Matagorda Bay
23 miles SE of Port Lavaca (via FM 1289) the county seat
48 miles SE of Victoria
Population: 1,253 (2010)

Port O'Connor Area Hotels › Port Lavaca Hotels
Sea gulls and pier in Matagorda Bay
Seagulls and pelican on the pier
TE photo, August 2001
History in a Seashell

Thomas M. O'Connor was the owner of the 70,000-acre Alligator Head Ranch in Calhoun County. In 1909 the Calhoun Cattle Company platted the townsite and two years later the International-Great Northern Railroad came to town.

Now connected by the railroad, people turned the town into a summer resort where it has remained ever since.

The town later became a terminus of the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway.

An ice factory made possible fish and oyster business and for some time figs were one of the major crops. Fig Orchards Company of Port O'Connor processed the figs for the farmers who raised them.

People could train over to Port O'Connor, sip ice-cold drinks and have plates of Oysters in Fig Sauce.

The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway was dredged by 1939. This connected New Orleans with Corpus Christi and protected smaller craft from German submarines during the early years of World War II, but didn't help the tankers that had to run the gauntlet of U-boats through the straits of Florida. Pipelines to the East coast constructed in record time solved the problem.

Port O'Connor has had its share of storms. There was no population when the storms that made Indianola a ghost hit the area, and the same was true for the 1900 storm. But 1919, 1942 and 1945 had storms that damaged the town. Hurricane Carla in 1961, completely leveled downtown Port O'Connor which explains the absence of a town center.

In 1969 the town's population exceeded 1,000 due to employment opportunities at the nearby Matagorda Air Force Base. It later dropped to around 800.

Port O'Connor continues to be an attraction for retirees, fishermen and summer tourists.

Port O'Connor Chronicles

  • The Old Lady and the Sea by Mike Cox
    ...On Sept. 11, 1961, Hurricane Carla-one of the strongest hurricanes ever to strike the state-virtually erased Port O'Connor and caused extensive damage all the way to Galveston..... "There has never been a storm on the coast with Carla's magnitude nor one that carried so many freak winds," Sharp said after the storm..... Four days after Carla's landfall, a group of citizens meeting at an elementary school that had somehow survived elected her mayor of a town that had been blown away. She worked with five local men chosen as commissioners and along with local, state and federal officials to get Port O'Connor rebuilt.... more

  • Port O'Connor Tx First Baptist Church
    Port O'Connor First Baptist Church
    Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, December 2006

    More Texas Churches
    Anchor by Matagorda Bay

    TE photo, August 2001

    Anchor by Matagorda Bay

    Landscaping with anchors 101
    TE photo, August 2001

    Hurricane Junction Port O'Connor Texas

    Seaside casual architecture
    TE photo, August 2001

    A tower overlooking Matagorda Bay

    A tower overlooking Matagorda Bay
    TE photo, August 2001

    Port O'Connor Attractions

    Matagorda Island State Park
    On Matagorda Island
    Passenger ferry from the dock in Port O'Connor.

    Port O'Connor Chamber of Commerce
    PO Box 701 Port O'Connor, TX 77982 (361)983-2898

    Port O'Connor, Texas Area Towns:
    Port Lavaca the county seat
    Indianola | Victoria | Point Comfort | Seadrift
    See Calhoun County | Texas Gulf Coast

    Book Hotel Here:
    Port Lavaca Hotels | More Hotels
    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and recent or vintage/historic photos, please contact us.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


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