1880's, Point Isabel Light Station.

As one of the oldest communities in extreme south Texas, Port Isabel, has a long and STORIED history dating back to 1519 when the area was charted by Spanish explorer Alonzo de Pineda. And just 30 miles north is the 1554 shipwreck site, the oldest coastal shipwreck discovery site in the United States. South Padre Island is located 2.6 miles off the mainland. With the formation of the Brazos Santiago Pass, its geographic features contribute to local maritime history. Tales are still told of pirates and treasures.

A visit Port Isabel Historic Museum and the Keeper’s Cottage Visitor’s Center’s Lighthouse exhibit on the grounds of the Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site (421 E. Queen Isabella Blvd., open daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) offers more information about the history of the Laguna Madre area. Port Isabel Historical Museum (317 E. Railroad Ave.) is open Wednesday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Port Isabel Lighthouse State Historic Site Historical Marker

There are also a number of historical markers around downtown Port Isabel. This one, located on the Maxan Street entrance to the park reads:

POINT ISABEL LIGHTHOUSE, Built 1852, Retired 1905. Built of brick brought from New Orleans by schooner, the beacon’s 16 mile range guided sips into the harbor and to the Rio Grande bringing commerce to SW Texas. Darkened during the Civil War, it was used as a lookout by both Union and Confederate forces, and again during World War 1.

[Placed in honor of The American Merchant Marine, United States Daughters of 1812, Texas Society; Coryne Aston Boggs Choate, State President. 9 February 1992]