As you drive into Port Lavaca, Texas, ( www.portlavaca.org ) one of the first unique structures you see, is this hexagonal-shaped light house (made of cypress), located at the town's community center. It has been moved from its original location of Half Moon Reef, where it was built in the 1850's, attached to strong iron pilings, to form a three-story lighthouse. It is said to be the oldest wooden lighthouse remaining on the Texas coast. Its beacon went out 12 miles, to warn sailors of sandbars and reefs between the open sea and the Texas Gulf Coast. However, during the Civil War, the light was disabled by Confederate troops, in an attempt to disrupt federal efforts to capture Southern blockade runners.
The lighthouse greeting, is a clue to the importance of boating and fishing, in this haven for the many "Winter Texans" who come here from Canada and colder parts of the USA, to spend October through April.
Since the adjacent lands are "flat as the proverbial pancake", I got the impression that many of these boaters used pedal-power to make their supply runs, as bicycles were prevalent everywhere on the dock!
The calmer waters of the marina are a "must have" for boat moorings, because Port Lavaca holds the record for the highest wind speed ever reached! During Hurricane Carla in September, 1961, winds were recorded to gust up to 170 mph! On the day I was there, the weather broadcast said the winds were 55 mph! As I was filling up my gas tank, the wind actually blew the nozzle out of the tank! I don't recall ever being outside in that much wind in my entire life!
Although the population of Port Lavaca is listed as around 12,000, it can boast some boutique shopping experiences that compare with towns of a much larger size. I spent about an hour wandering through this store, as the tremendous variety of merchandise it offered was a visual delight!
The title of this mural is "Main Street on Parade" and alludes to the town's colorful past. A clue to that past, is in its name, as "La vaca" means "the cow" in Spanish. At one time, the shipping of cattle, was an important part of this town's economic purpose. Not only that, Port Lavaca, was the location of shipments of camels, during an "experiment" the U.S. Military authorized, to test using dromedaries for transport purposes, in their Southwest operations!
The Lavaca Theater is no longer used for current movie releases, but its distinctive sign remains as a landmark on the town's Main Street.
This Confederate Artillery Battery Silhouette, with the Gulf waters in the background, is a reminder that this area was also touched by the conflicts of the Civil War, even though the battles fought here may not be as famous as the ones back East around Gettysburg. Since I had a great grandfather that died in the Civil War, I am using this image as a visual aid for one of my First Place 4 Health ( www.FirstPlace4Health.com ) memory verses that says, "Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength." (Nehemiah 8:10)
This sturdy bench is bolted onto concrete to withstand the strong winds, and make sure it is available, for those who want to sit and gaze at the horizon! It may have been empty when I was there because many of the "Winter Texans" had already left, and the local folks were at work in one of the large manufacturing facilities that are nearby: Alcoa, Formosa Plastics, and DuPont all have plants in the area.
There is a very nice Nature Walk beside the water, that provides folks with a level place to do their outdoor exercise strolls.
This board walk enables the visitor to get "up close and personal" with the wildlife of the estuaries, without damaging it from foot traffic.
The covered gazebo on the water's edge would be a welcome repose from the sun, during the hot days of summer.
Lighthouse Beach is a man made beach, and has covered picnic tables, swimming, and shower provisions. I liked the way the shower nozzles were "camouflaged" adjacent to the artificial palm trees!
The tire tracks on the beach show that no one had used it since it was groomed earlier in the day. The row of black dots in the middle left of the photo show the beach is being patrolled by platoon of birds---hundreds were all lined up on the fence, as if waiting for a performance to start!
I couldn't resist my urge to start walking towards these birds to see how close I could get, before they all flew away. Some of them never did fly away! I surmised they were more afraid of losing their spot in the line-up, than they were of some lady with a camera!
A new fishing pier was built for Port Lavaca in 2006. Notice it has lights for night fishermen. Game fish harvested here include Red Fish, Flounder, Drum, and Speckled Trout.
I was more intrigued by this sailing catamaran that I was by the fishing boats. Sadly, I never saw anyone take it out during my brief visit to these waters.
Fishing is an important part of the local economy, especially for shrimp and oysters. This boat was unloading its catch during my visit. So even though the nickname of the town is "Port of the Cow", I did not see a single cow anywhere, while touring Port Lavaca! However, later in my trip to the Texas coast, I was able to enjoy dining on some of their fresh seafood, and it gave me "MILES OF SMILES"!. Tricia