A Landing a Day

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San Perlita, Texas

Posted by graywacke on March 17, 2010

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (now pretty much an every-other-day blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  I was uncomfortable in the 153s, so, thanks to today’s landing, I’m back in the good ol’ (bad ol’?) 152s . . . TX; 133/164; 4/10; 6; 152.7.  Today’s landing was, geographically speaking, quite noteworthy.  I’ll start (as always) with my landing map, showing my proximity to San Perlita and Port Mansfield:

Because San Perlita’s a little closer to my landing; it got the top billing for this post.  I’ll step back a little, and you’ll have a clue as to the significance of this landing:

That’s the Mexican border just south of my landing (near Brownsville).  This landing becomes my southern-most landing in TX.  Of all my landings, only a handful of S FL landings are further south.  Here’s my landing distribution map – today’s landing is obvious!

Here’s the broadest view (although this is hardly necessary):

Here’s my GE shot, which shows a rather non-descript landscape, with a suspiciously turquoise (i.e., industry-related) water body:

Here’s a broader GE view, biased towards the coast.  What a strange landscape!!

Let me return to another landing map.  I was intrigued by the series of little islands heading out across the bay from Port Mansfield, labeled “Port Mansfield Channel”:

Here’s a GE shot of the channel.  Now it’s clear that the islands are what was dredged up when the channel was dug:

This history of Port Mansfield (from Lone Star Internet) sheds light on the channel:

Until 1948, the little-used highway from Raymondville to a little settlement called Redfish Bay on the shores of Laguna Madre was traveled by occasional fishermen going to deserted beaches.  No real community marked the road’s end at the water’s edge.  The people of Willacy County, employing own financing, set about creating a port.  They built wharves, docks, and a turning basin.  They laid out a town site and called it Port Mansfield.  The Ship channel completed in 1962, slicing across shallow Laguna Madre, through Padre Island ventures into the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  Former “occasional” fishermen now have lots of company – sports editors rate Port Mansfield as one of the 10 best fishing spots in the nation!

I found a website dedicated to Texas coast aerial photos, with a ton of pictures of the Port Mansfield channel through the years.  I was going to lift a few of these pictures to insert into my blog, when I came across this warning:

High resolution digital copies of many of these photographs are available for sale.  These photographs are copyrighted and are the property of Richard L. Watson.  They may not be copied or used without permission.  You may however link to this website from your website or by email.

Well, that convinced me not to lift any photos!  Anyway, I enjoyed perusing the pictures, and you can too, if you click here.

Moving on to San Perlita – from TexasEscapes.com:

The area was a part of a Spanish land grant that the King Ranch acquired after proving in court that the terms of the grant hadn’t been met. The land became part of the state and the King Ranch obtained it shortly thereafter.

Henrietta King sold the land to developers and the town was laid out in 1926. Charles Johnson and H.G. Hecht were the town planners while Johnson’s wife, Pyrle planned the landscaping. Pyrle became the namesake of the town that is the self-proclaimed “Pearl of the Valley”.

The post office was established in 1929 and the railroad arrived a year later. In 1933 there were eighteen businesses operating in town, but by 1939 there were less than half that number.

Today there appears to be one open business and several well-kept building which date from the town’s founding.

The school is well-kept and the entire community as a whole is quite neat, despite the number of vacant lots.

I like the fact that “San Perlita” came from the name “Pyrle.”  Anyway, here’s a shot of an abandoned store.  It looks like the builders spared no expense . . .

Here’s a picture of a church that seems to be alive and well:

I’ll close with two shots from Port Mansfield.  First, a sunrise . . .

And then, this sunset (looking out the Port Mansfield Channel) . . .

That’ll do it. . .



© 2010 A Landing A Day

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