Port Mansfield Texas History:
Port Mansfield is located on the Laguna Madre on the former San Juan de Carricitos land grant given by the King of Spain to Jose Narcisso Cavazos. In approximately 1880, King Ranch owners Captain Richard and Henrietta King purchased the land which was then called Red Fish Landing, In 1932, President Hoover’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation sent a crew to improve the beach for swimming and fishing and boating. In1933, the executors of Henrietta’s estate leased approximately 197 acres to the American Legion of Willacy County with the stipulation the land was to be held in trust by the Legion and was to be used only for recreational or park purposes. That same year the WPA improved the road to the area. Work to complete the 120 mile section of the Intracoastal Canal between Corpus Christi and Brownsville resumed in 1945. Charles R. Johnson spearheaded the establishment of the Willacy County Navigation District in 1948. Two years later, the Navigation District acquired 1,760 acres of land through condemnation proceedings, renamed the area Port Mansfield, and began work on the port. The district paid the American Legion $3 an acre for their land. The harbor and its 77 boat stalls were formally dedicated in 1957 after the first pass cut through Padre Island was completed. At this time, Port Mansfield consisted of the boat stalls, a few port buildings, a motel and store, and a few fishing cabins. In 1962, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers replaced the jetty and deepened the channel to 18 feet to permit larger boats access to Port Mansfield. The East cut, the final Port Mansfield Channel, was completed across Padre Island in 1962, allowing access to the Intracoastal Canal and boat access to Padre Island. The U.S. Coast Guard purchased land for their facilities from the Willacy County Navigation District and opened their station in 1963. Today the U.S. Coast Guard and the Willacy County Navigation District are the only two entities that actually own land at Port Mansfield. All other homes and businesses are built on land under long-term lease from the Navigation District. In 1976, Slim and Connie Cranfell donated a filling station building to the town for use as a post office. Today harbor revenue comes mostly from renting dock space to pleasure boats, from land leases, and from marine services. Port Mansfield is considered one of the top 10 fishing locations in Texas. The first annual Port Mansfield Fishing Tournament was held in 1974. The tournament headquarters are usually located at the navigation district’s big barn. Port Mansfield students attend San Perlita ISD schools. Port Mansfield is located on SH 186, 22 miles east of Raymondville, Texas.
San Juan De Carricitos Land Grant, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“The largest land grant in South Texas, the San Juan de Carricitos lands were awarded to Don Jose Narciso Cavazos in 1792 by the King of Spain. Comprising over one-half million acres, the grant included virtually all of present Willacy County, including the sites of the towns of Sebastian, Lyford, Raymondville, Lasara, San Perlita and Port Mansfield. In 1793 Cavazos took formal possession of the land grant seven miles north of this site. Most of the grant was later sold by Cavazos' heirs, although some descendants still live within its boundaries.” From Raymondville, take SH 186 east approximately 12 miles to the marker.
Port Mansfield Living:
Except for the Coast Guard Station land, the Willacy County Navigation District owns and operates all of the property known as Port Mansfield, an area of approximately 1,760 acres. The Navigation District offers land leases for both commercial and residential purposes for up to thirty (30) years. Port Mansfield has become one of the top ten fishing areas of the U.S. with a well-known annual fishing tournament. The Chamber of Commerce building serves as a community center and is available for event rentals. The Chamber pays the utility bills of Port Mansfield’s small park and library. The chamber maintains the community events information board located outside the Port Mansfield post office. (956) 689-3332. Email