Texas Heritage, Summer 2001 Page: 16
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CORPUS CHRISTI MUSEUM OF
SCIENCE AND HISTORY
There is more than the Gulf Coast
beaches for tourists visiting Corpus
Christi, and one of the places that lovers
of history will want to see is the Corpus
Christi Museum of Science and History.
Visitors are in store for a special treat
because they can participate in informal
tours of authentic recreations of
Columbus' ships, Santa Maria and Pinta.
The tour begins at the museum
entrance where visitors pass through
Shipwreck!, an exhibit of three Spanish
ships that wrecked on Padre Island in
1554, and Seeds of Change, a
Smithsonian Institution exhibit. A "must
see" part of the tour is the museum's new
Gallery of Cultural Encounters, featuring a
16th-century-Spanish domed ceiling and
artifacts from La Salle's ship La Belle.
The Corpus Christi Museum of
Science and History is the marine archeology
repository for the State of Texas.
The conservation laboratory, operated by
Ships of Discovery, preserves museum
collections and conducts research projects
on 16th-18th century shipwreck
sites throughout the Caribbean region.
1900 N. Chaparral Street, (361) 8832862;
HIDALGO COUNTY HISTORICAL
In 1986 there were 6,200 U.S. museums
when Gerald George and Cindy
Sherrell-Leo, co-authors of Starting Right:
A Basic Guide to Museum Planning, chose
the Hidalgo County Historical Museum
as a model to begin their book.
Calling the museum, an "exquisite
jewel," the authors lauded the organization
for successfully achieving its mission
of "preserving and presenting the borderland
heritage of South Texas and
Core exhibits at the museum cover
10,000 years of the region's history and
cultural diversity, from native
Coahuilatecans to influxes of Spanish
settlement, soldiers fighting wars,
refugees from the Mexican Revolution,
and Midwestern farmers.
In February 2001, HCHM began construction
on a $6.2 million expansion
program. Scheduled for opening in the
spring of 2003, the new wing will quintuple
HCHM's exhibit space.
121 East McIntyre, (956) 381-6911;
www. riograndeborderlands . org
TEXAS SEAPORT MUSEUM
ELISSA TALL SHIP
The history of Galveston is closely tied
to that of the Gulf of Mexico. It is that
legacy of seaborne commerce and immigration
that the Texas Seaport Museum,
located in the city's historic port, celebrates.
Besides the nautical artifacts that are
housed there, the museum also contains a
one-of-a-kind computer database with
the names of more than 133,000 immigrants
who entered the United States
through Galveston, "The Ellis Island of
And for a once-in-a-lifetime experience,
visitors to this seaport facility, can
share the adventure of the high seas on
the 1877 tall ship Elissa. Explore the
decks of this floating National Historic
Landmark that has also been designated
one of America's Treasures by the
National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Located at Pier 21, (409) 763-1877;
www. tsm-elissa. org
OLD HIDALGO PUMPHOUSE
Just as the winning of the American
West was attributed to the invention of
barbed wire and the windmill, the development
of the Rio Grande Valley was
changed forever with the emergence of
the irrigation system and railroads.
For many years, cattle ranching was
the only activity the grassy plains could
support. Then someone took a closer
look at the rich soil and realized that if
they could bring water from the river,
they might be able to grow a variety of
crops. The Louisiana-Rio Grande Canal
Company was formed, and in 1909 the
first steam-driven irrigation pump was
installed at Hidalgo to draw water from
the Rio Grande. A second pump was
immediately added, and in 1911-12, two
larger steam engines and pumps were
installed. The state-of-the-art pumps
watered 71,000 acres of fertile crop lands,
moving 408,000 gallons of water per
Two more internal combustion engine
pumps were added in 1948 and 1954, and
in order to make way for those, the original
engines, pumps, and smoke stacks
were removed. They heyday of steam
power was coming to an end.
In 1983, the Hidalgo Pumphouse was
closed by the Hidalgo County Irrigation
District #2, bowing to the more efficient
electric pumps. The Pumphouse was in
danger of being torn down, and would
have been, if not for the efforts of local
The Irrigation District donated the
Pumphouse to the City of Hidalgo;
restoration funding was obtained, and
the facility was opened to the public as a
museum. The Pumphouse recalls the era
of steam power, a period in the nation's
history now lost to the present generation.
902 S. Second Street, (956) 843-8686
Dia de las Muertes, Hidalgo
County Historical Museum
HERITAGE A SUMMER 2001
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Texas Historical Foundation. Texas Heritage, Summer 2001, periodical, Summer 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45385/m1/16/: accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.