Heritage, Volume 6, Number 1, Spring 1988 Page: 7
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surrendered to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox-within
earshot of South
Padre Island at Palmito Hill. Ironically,
the Confederates whipped the
Yankees in the final battle of the Civil
War, sending them scampering to
nearby Brazos Island.
Shortly after the war, French troops
massed south of the Rio Grande
around Matamoros, propping up the
short-lived regime of Maximilian,
puppet emperor of Mexico. To counter
the French presence, the U. S. government
sent some 30,000 federal troops
under the command of General Philip
H. Sheridan to Brazos Island.
Conditions there were so adverse
that upon his departure Sheridan was
said to remark, "If I owned Texas and
Hell, I would lease Texas and go live in
the other place."
One can survey the military situation
from atop the Port Isabel Lighthouse
(completed in 1853). And you'll
also get a sweeping panorama of the
greatest instrument of change in the
history of South Padre Island-the
Queen Isabella Causeway, Texas'
longest bridge, completed in 1974.
South Padre Island became a separate
geographic entity in 1964 when
the Port Mansfield Gulf Channel was
completed, linking the Lower Laguna
Madre with the Gulf of Mexico.
Incorporated in 1973, the Town of
South Padre Island is an ambitious
teenager striving for national recognition
as a year-round resort.
South Padre Island
became a separate
geographic entity in 1964
when the Port Mansfield
Gulf Channel was completed.
An old pier at Port Isabel, looking landward. Circa 1920.
Reprinted by permission of the South Padre
Island Visitor and Convention Bureau.
[These photographs come from the Runyon Collection,
recently donated to the Barker History Center
at the University of Texas at Austin. Heritage
magazine is one of the first accessors of this valuable
collection of I I, 000 photos and glass plate negatives
depicting Mexican revolutionary activities in northern
Mexico, 1910-1917, and the development of
the lower Rio Grande Valley, 1909-1930. The
images were made by the late Robert Runyon of
Brownsville, a commercial photographer who died
in 1968. This collection is available for examination
by the public, and will be of special interest to
scholars interested in the development of Texas, as
well as in aspects of Mexican history, the American
Southwest and the United States.-Ed.]
View of the bay at "Point Isabel", Texas.
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 6, Number 1, Spring 1988, periodical, Spring 1988; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45435/m1/7/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.