Colonel Elihu Harrison Ropes (1845-1898) came to Corpus Christi in 1888 with grand ideas for the town's development and promotion. With financial backing from eastern investors, he sought to make Corpus Christi a deepwater port, to build a railroad between the port and the lower Rio Grande Valley, and to develop a large suburb three miles south of what was then the city limit. Within about five years, his eastern investors withdrew their support, and Ropes left Corpus Christi having attained few of his goals.
The Alta Vista Hotel, once located on the adjacent property, was a part of Ropes' plan for development of his suburb, known as the Cliffs. He acquired the land in 1888 and hired young San Antonio architect James Riely Gordon to design the hotel. The Alta Vista was a three story frame building with 106 guest rooms. The hotel was completed about 1893 but did not open for business because of Ropes' departure from the city. The Alta Vista was operated briefly as a hotel during the early 1900's under the direction of J. J. Copley and the Alta Vista Hotel Co. Later abandoned, the hotel burned on June 9, 1927. Although the landmark is gone, its history is a reminder of the dreams that early promoters such as E. H. Ropes had for the city. (1985)