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Great Land Lottery of Aransas Pass

Texas Historical Marker - Great Land Lottery of Aransas Pass

Texas Historical Marker

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In 1909, real estate developers E. O. Burton and A. H. Danforth embarked upon a land promotion scheme to take advantage of available land in Aransas Pass. They hired journalist W. H. Vernor to produce the "Aransas Pass Progress", which promoted Aransas Pass and the pending land sale across the country by U. S. Mail. Promoter A. D. Powers was hired to carefully handle the sale to avoid its being seen as a lottery by the postal department.

Six thousand tickets, each representing a town lot, were sold for $100 each. Ticket holders were then to come to Aransas Pass to bid on lots; they were not to bid more than $100, and thus the tickets could be exchanged directly for lots. Nearly all 6,000 lots were sold during the auction sales in December 1909. All went well until postal inspectors who had secured tickets purposefully overbid, which muddled the sale and led to several legal battles. As a result of the great land lottery of 1909, Aransas Pass did see substantial growth. The money collected in overbids went into a trust that eventually served to fund public and school libraries, including the one at this site.

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