Texas Heritage, Summer 2001 Page: 18
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KING RANCH MUSEUM
King Ranch, a National Historic
Landmark, is recognized as the birthplace
of the American ranching industry.
Founded by Captain Richard King in
1853, King Ranch developed the Santa
Gertrudis breed of cattle, recognized as
the first American breed of beef cattle.
Housed in the Henrietta Memorial
Center, a renovated circa 1904 ice factory,
the King Ranch Museum features
videos on the history of King Ranch and
its main residences and an impressive
permanent collection. This includes Toni
Frissell's photographic essay of life on
King Ranch in the early 1940s, a series of
full-scale replicas of historic Texas flags,
and antique carriages and vintage cars
including a custom-designed hunting car
built for Congressman R.M. Kleberg Sr.
in 1949 by General Motors.
405 North 6th Street, (361) 696-1881;
www. king-ranch. com
WEBB COUNTY HERITAGE
The goal of Webb County Heritage
Foundation is to promote awareness and
appreciation of the goals of historic
preservation, especially in the folklore
and traditions of Texas' border region.
The group accomplishes this mission by
operating the Republic of the Rio
Grande Museum, conducting tours of the
historic downtown area, and serving as
the archives for historic documents,
maps, photographs, and oral histories.
The Republic of the Rio Grande
Museum does a thorough job of explaining
the story of an independent republic,
declared and fought over during the span
of ten months in 1840. It also maintains
a permanent and authentic exhibit of
day-to-day life in a mid-19th century
Laredo home. The museum is equipped
with audio stations that provide visitors
with the chance to enjoy a self-guided
tour by listening to narrativ in lish
1005 Zaragoza Street, (95
THE MUSEUMS OF PORT ISABEL
In 1995, the City of Port Isabel was
able to establish the Port Isabel
Historical Museum, the Treasures of the
Gulf Museum, restore the Point Isabel
Lighthouse, and build a replica of the
Lighthouse Keeper Cottage.
The Port Isabel Historical Museum is
located in the Champion Building. Built
in 1899 as a dry goods store and residence,
the building now houses one of
the largest collections of Mexican artifacts
from the U.S.-Mexican War.
The Treasures of the Gulf Museum
interprets the three Spanish ships that
wrecked on Padre Island in 1554 around
30 miles from present-day Port Isabel.
The Point Isabel Lighthouse was constructed
in 1852 to protect and guide ships
through Brazos Santiago and the barrier
islands. In 1952, it opened as a state park
and remains the only lighthouse on the
Texas coast open to the public.
317 Railroad Avenue, (956) 943-7602
WESLACO BICULTURAL MUSEUM
The Weslaco Bicultural Museum,
chartered in 1971, collects, preserves,
and exhibits artifacts and archives of
local history to encourage understanding
and interest in the history of the Lower
Rio Grande Valley and South Texas.
Though its start was modest, the
museum has grown through the years
and today features exhibits that spotlight
the South Texas culture: the cultivation
and marketing of citrus products; the
Fruit, Flower, and Vegetable Style Shows
for which Weslaco was famous; and a
fruit stand of the type common in the
Valley, complete with produce in
authentic field boxes.
515 S. Kansas Street, (956) 968-9142
MUSEUM OF THE BIG BEND
The mission of the Museum of the Big
Bend, a department of Sul Ross State
University, is to collect, preserve, exhibit,
and interpret cultural, historic, and
natural materials that relate to the prehistory
and history of the Texas Big
Bend, with an awareness of the region's
The museum provides a wide range of
cultural and educational programs and
exhibits that relate to the arts, sciences,
and history of the West Texas area.
The museum and community of Alpine
are the gateway to the Big Bend National
Park, Big Bend Ranch State Park, Fort
Leaton State Park, the University of
Texas McDonald Observatory, Fort Davis
National Historic Site, and Davis
Mountains State Park.
Located on the campus of Sul Ross State
University, (915) 837-8730;
www. sulross. edu/-museum
Unlike many other museums, the
exhibits at the Whitehead Memorial
Museum consist of several buildings,
each a historical significance in itself.
The museum came to life in 1962
when the Whiteheads, a local ranching
family, purchased the old Perry
Mercantile building, built in 1871, and
donated it to the City of Del Rio and Val
Verde County to be utilized as a museum.
Today, the shed of the mercantile
building is used as the war room with military
artifacts. At the back of the store
building is a grove of salt cedars that surround
the spot where a water trough was
built for stage teams, oxen, and pack animals.
Also to be found on the museum
grounds is a portion of the San Felipe
Irrigation nal, part of the original irri1-j
^n ~that helped insure suffi_
:r ror crops.
_^^^ Rth Main Street, (830) 774_
/~ Hw. whitehead-museum. com
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Texas Historical Foundation. Texas Heritage, Summer 2001, periodical, Summer 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45385/m1/18/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.