5 ways San Jose Island will steal your heart
Located along the Texas Gulf coast, just north of Corpus Christi, is an undisturbed island jewel by the name of San Jose Island, also known as Saint Joseph Island. With a colorful Texan history and endless natural beauty to boot, a day trip to her shores must be on your list of Coastal Bend activities.
1. First American flag to fly over Texas
Once claimed by France, Spain and even a pirate, the first American flag to fly over Texas territory was planted in the sand dunes on San Jose Island on July 26, 1845 by Lt. Chandler of the USS Alabama. Lt. Chandler and his men were led by Gen. Zachary Taylor.
Photo via PortAransasMuseum.org
2. Civil War rise and fall
A town by the name of Aransas flourished on San Jose Island during its stint as a successful port for the Confederacy during the Civil War. Cotton, beef, seafood, military supplies and other items were sent off from its shores until the Union Army barreled into town and burned down every structure in sight—including the docks—then stole the livestock. Now all that remains of Aransas is….nothing. But what still stands is the island’s wild coastal charm.
Photo via SanJoseIsland.com
3. Anyone up for a treasure hunt?
Word on the street is the island is holding on to treasures and secrets dating back to the 1500s. Spanish shipwrecks near San Jose Island washed ashore items such as ornaments and gold intended for a cathedral in Veracruz, as well as payroll dues meant for Spanish soldiers. Though some treasures have been found and donated into collections such as those at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, old-timers say the rest is still out there hidden beneath the Texas sands.
Photo via TexasLessTraveled.com
4. I’ll take your secluded island and raise you one Texas businessman
After the destruction of Aransas, the island’s owners opted to keep the island a natural rangeland, as it remains today. Purchased by successful Texas businessman Sid Richardson in the 1930s, the island was a hunting and fishing playground for businessman wearing everything from cowboy boots to loafers. Sid loved cattle and raised many award-winning bulls on St. Jo, as he liked to refer to it. A compound to enjoy the island was constructed for Mr. Richardson and still remains in the family today. He spent most of his free time on St. Jo and passed away there in 1959.
Photo via SidRichardsonMuseum.org
5. Cattle chute: ADA compliant?
President Franklin D. Roosevelt loved to fish so he took a trip to San Jose Island in 1937. He arrived aboard the Presidential Yacht, the USS Potomac, and anchored behind the island. As he was already committed to a lunch date with Mr. Richardson that day and needed to depart the boat, the wheelchair-bound President took an adventurous little ride off the boat, compliments of Sid: a cattle chute turned wheelchair ramp.
Photo via Tamupress.blogspot.com
Want to see it for yourself? Catch a ride on the Jetty Boat out of Fisherman’s Wharf and spend the day on San Jose Island surfing, fishing or beach combing. Bonus: Rent a cart from Fisherman’s Wharf to carry all of your beach gear during your day trip.