Mapping Texas’s Coastal Islands
The Texas General Land Office presents Mapping Texas: The Gulf Coast display at the Bob Bullock Museum in Austin Texas covering 252 years of Texas history.
With a collection of over 36 million documents, the GLO was established by the Republic of Texas in 1836 and is the state’s oldest agency. Formed to distribute and manage the transfer of public lands (public domain), the GLO contains one of the most unique collections in the nation — over 45,000 maps, sketches, and drawings documenting the surveying and mapping of boundaries and land ownership dating back to the 16th century.
The maps showcased in this exhibit demonstrate the diverse history of Texas’s Gulf Coast. With 367 miles of beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, more than 3,300 miles of bays and estuaries, and hundreds of communities, Texas has one of the longest, most vibrant coastlines in the United States. From the earliest days of European settlement to modern navigation and oil drilling, the mapping of Texas’s coast has always been of vital importance.
The islands along the Texas Gulf Coast have long been a source for exploration, recreation, and settlement, from Alonso Álvarez de Pineda’s survey of the area in 1519 to the thousands of beach-goers, bird-watchers, fishing expeditions and vacationers who flock to the coastal islands year round. Two maps on display in this exhibit prominently feature the Texas barrier islands of Galveston Island and Padre Island.
Galveston Island Named in honor of Viceroy Bernardo de Galvéz in 1785, Galveston Island is shown on this map in two sections. In intricate detail highlighting its settlement, the island is divided into five distinct areas, with the City of Galveston on the east end. The western two-thirds of the island were not part of the original city.
Padre Island Standing nearly five feet tall, this colorful map by GLO draftswoman Eltea Armstrong depicts Padre Island and five coastal counties of South Texas — covering nearly 140 miles from Corpus Christi Bay to Brownsville.
Created in response to the Tidelands Controversy, the map also served as Commissioner Jerry Sadler’s commemorative map. Padre Island, named for Padre José Nicolás Ballí, founder of the first Spanish mission in Cameron County, is the largest barrier island in the world at over 100 miles long. The year of this map’s release, 1962, an 80-mile area was designated as Padre Island National Seashore wildlife Reserve.
Armstrong was known for including intricate interpretations of historic events that occurred in the region featured. On this map she represents the six flags on the State seal for the six different nations that have claimed Texas — France, Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States, and the Confederate States of America. Other notable features include the site of the 1912 wreck of the SS Nicaragua off the coast of Kenedy County and an economic development near Cameron County Park.
15 Reasons to Visit the Bullock Museum
- Exhibitions – See new artifacts and special exhibitions all year
- H-E-B Free First Sundays – Come and Celebrate our 15th June 5th
- Feature Films – See new Hollywood films every month
- Texas Artist Series – Experience the intersection of history and the arts
- B Movies & Bad History – View the best (and worst) Texas-centric movies
- High Noon Talks – Explore Texas history through lectures and discussions
- Artifacts – Learn about Texas history through artifacts
- Texas Focus Films – Watch monthly films about Texas with special guests
- Music Under the Star – Enjoy free outdoor concerts in July
- World Refugee Day – A cultural celebration with our newest Texas citizens
- American Indian Heritage Day – Celebrate Texas’ American Indian communities
- Spooktacular – Spooky science for the whole family
- Blue Star Museums – Free admission all summer for active military
- Science Thursdays – Discover the science of the Story of Texas
- Holiday Sale at the Bullock Museum Store – Members receive deep discounts on gifts
Mapping Texas: The Gulf Coast runs through January 2017, visit http://www.thestoryoftexas.com/visit/exhibits/mapping-texas.
Visitor Information: https://www.thestoryoftexas.com/visit/plan-your-visit.
Texas Beach Homes, visit http://www.texasbeachhomes.com.
State agency overseeing state lands, mineral rights, veterans, and coastal issues, as well as managing the Alamo, the GLO funds public education, and to collect and preserve archival materials from Texas’s rich history. Over the years, its surveyors and draftsmen have mapped and drawn thousands of acres of Texas soil and waterways, continuing to update existing maps as boundaries, transportation routes, and ownership changes.
Support for the Bullock Museum’s exhibitions and education programs provided by the Texas State History Museum Foundation.
Bob Bullock Museum
Let history inspire you as you connect with Texas stories told by ever-changing artifacts, rare documents, photographs, and special exhibits. Learn the story of La Belle, the ship that changed history, and then view the reassembled shipwreck itself. Experience multi-sensory special effects films in the Texas Spirit Theater. Check out the latest blockbuster movies on the biggest screen in Texas in the IMAX® Theatre. Shop for distinctive gifts at the Museum Store and enjoy the eclectic menu and great view at the Story of Texas Café.
More than 7.5 million visitors from around the state and all over the world have explored Texas history and culture at the Bullock Texas State History Museum since it opened in 2001. Last year, the Museum had a record-breaking, award-winning year. In the coming year, the Museum will feature special exhibitions on Texas music icon Stevie Ray Vaughan, historic music festivals such as Woodstock, the power of propaganda, and a premier national collection of American flags.