Monday, August 09, 2010

Matagorda Bay History: Indianola

Saturday afternoon El Jefe, SIL, BIL and I took a tour of a couple of historic sites along Matagorda Bay.

We drove to Indianola, which the second largest port in Texas (after Galveston) between 1844-1875.

The large granite statue you see in the photo is located in a little pocket park on the bay there. It depicts the explorer LaSalle, whose French fleet sailed (way) off course and instead of landing in New Orleans, came ashore between Indian Point and Indianola, Texas in the year 1685.

The expedition established Fort St. Louis which was intended to be a temporary settlement while they searched for the mouth of the Mississippi River. Too bad they didn't have a GPS! Besiged by unfriendly natives, bugs and bad weather, the little colony struggled. LaSalle left to seek help in 1687 but was killed by Indians along the Trinity River. The settlement perished.

This statue was erected in his honor during the Texas Centennial celebrations in 1936 on the site where his expedition landed.

Indianola was founded in the days of the Republic of Texas. The area was the primary entry point for European immigrants and American colonists seeking to move west. The army even brought camels through the port in an experiment to replace horses and mules in the southwest.

Indianola was hit by a major hurricane causing extensive damage and loss of life in 1875 which was followed just 11 years later by a catastrophic hurricane that literally wiped the town from the face of the map. It was never rebuilt. Today all that remains are a few fishing shacks and historical monuments and memorials to its former days of importance.

1 comment:

Robin said...

Love the history lesson!