The History of
Including Aransas Pass
and Mustang Island
For many hundreds of years the only occupants of these Islands were the Karankawa Indians.
In 1519, the Spanish explorer Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda sailed through the narrow pass between Mustang and St. Joseph's Islands and into
Corpus Christi Bay. He didnt stay long and for the next few hundred years the area remained largely undisturbed with the only sounds coming from the birds and the pounding surf.
Local legend says that in the early 1800s, the pirate Jean Lafitte established a base on the southern tip of St. Joseph's island and it is believed that he buried treasure on Mustang Island and marked the location with a Spanish dagger that had a silver spike driven
through the hilt.
By the 1830s more and more ships began to make their way through the Pass to deliver goods to various points on Corpus Christi, Aransas and Copano Bays. During the 1850s, warehouses, a customs station, a life saving station and a lighthouse were built at the Pass and a few settlers began to make their home at what is now known as Port Aransas. During the Civil War, the Union Navy blockaded the Pass, and most of the settlers fled, but they quickly returned
once the war was over.
In 1888, Elihu Harrison Ropes purchased
Mustang Island for $25,000 and the new town officially became known as Ropesville.
In 1896, the name was changed to Tarpon and
in 1912 it finally became Port Aransas.
During the early 1900s, the abundance of Tarpon around Port Aransas began to attract visitors from all over the country. In the 1930s, President Franklin D. Roosevelt made several trips to
Port Aransas to go Tarpon fishing.
A great resource for information about the history of Port Aransas and especially the Aransas Pass channel is the 1949 book, "Fabulous Port Aransas".
You can follow the links below for more information about the History of Port Aransas, Aransas Pass and Mustang Island.