San Patricio
Gulf Coast
2010 Census - 15,099
2000 Census - 14,827
Portland, Texas
Portland Texas History:
Portland was founded by John G. Willacy who merged the New England Land Company of Portland, Maine, the New England Real Estate Company, and the Portland Harbor and Improvement Company of Wichita, Kansas, and purchased 1,920 acres of land from the Coleman-Fulton in 1891. A twenty room hotel was built in preparation for the July 1891 sale of lots. The steamer Mascot was chartered to bring customers from Corpus Christi, and the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad ran special trains to accommodate the potential buyers. During the first two days of the sale lots worth more than $48,000 were sold; the Cleopatra was chartered to bring guests to a dance in the new hotel. By 1892 the town had 500 residents. A group of men formed a company that built a 1,200 foot wharf. A post office was authorized in 1891; Walter Willett was the first postmaster. A panic in 1893 caused the boom to disappear almost overnight. Thomas M. Clark was able to purchase the then vacant hotel to start Bay View College which operated until it was destroyed by a 1916 hurricane. In 1911, Willacy organized the Portland Development Company and negotiated with the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company for land it had repossessed. $10,000 was spent to improve Portland and the adjacent land, $28,000 was authorized to build a wharf with railroad facilities for shipping cotton, and water was piped in from Taft. The city incorporated in 1949; in 1952 the Reynolds Metal Company purchased land to build an industrial complex. During the early years Portland was a rail shipping center for vegetables; the wharf facilities for shipping cotton lasted a short period of time. The irrigation of the Rio Grande Valley curtailed the vegetable business, and hurricanes prevented the building of a port. Oil was discovered in the area. Portland is one of the few remaining winter homes of the endangered Whooping Cranes. Portland is located on U.S. 181, 8.9 miles northeast across Nueces Bay from Corpus Christi, 28 miles southwest of Rockport, 18.5 miles southwest of Aransas Pass, 10.8 miles southwest of Gregory, 15 miles
Site of West Portland, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“The San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad was built through this area in the late 1880s. In 1908 the Coleman-Fulton pasture company decided to encourage settlement in the area by giving 14,000 acres in its Picatche Pasture to the George H. Paul Company of Iowa to sell. Paul already had established a record of bringing settlers to Texas from other parts of the United States and Canada. The company mounted a gigantic advertising campaign in the Midwest, bringing in train roads of prospective land buyers. Most from Kansas, almost weekly. Some bought and leased land to tenant farmers; about twenty families moved into the area. Within a year, Mexican migrant workers had cleared the land of mesquite brush and farmers began to work the rich black soil. By 1914, a school building served the west Portland school district and the community, in addition to housing academic classes. The schoolhouse served as a community center for meeting, programs, parties, socials, receptions and suppers. Sunday School classes and worship services were held there, as well larger building were erected as needed , and one old school building was moved across the street to serve as a teacherage. In 1922, local farmers banded together to form the West Portland gin cooperative, which became the heart of the business district. The school was consolidated with the Taft Independent school district in1939. Farmers sold the gin cooperative in 1970. At the end of the 20th century, the cooperative was still in operation and most of the area land was owned by descendants of the original settlers.”
Bay View College, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“An Important school of the coastal region, founded for scattered south Texas ranch children, by Thomas M. Clark (1856-1943) and Alice Yantis Clark (1857-1913) of the family that founded Texas Christian University. The Clarks utilized 2-story 'Hotel Portland", opened 1891 but soon idled by national business recession, with Mrs. Mollie Allen Turner as associate, they opened Bay View College in Sept. 1894, teaching primary through junior college subjects. Mrs. Clark, who also managed "the home" for boarders, taught painting, music and literary subjects. Recreation included riding (on student owned horses). House parties at patron George Fulton's Rincon Ranch (12 mi. NE), and an annual San Jacinto day sail on Corpus Christi Bay, in 1897 the first bachelor of letters degrees were awarded to a class of three: Wallace Clark, Lucille Long, Ed Rachel. In time, a 2-story boy’s dormitory, a gymnasium, and a 2-story chapel stood on campus. Students came from 70 Texas counties, 12 other states, and Mexico. Some Bay View graduates went on to senior colleges and entered professions. Many remained in ranching. In 1916 a hurricane destroyed most of the building. A day school session was held the next winter in the chapel, but the college formally closed in 1917.”
Chat Work Club, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“Formed by a group of thirty-three women on Valentine's day, 1921, the chat work club derived its name from the member’s practice of working on sewing projects while conversing with each other. In 1925, they began raising funds for a Portland Public Library and by 1933 a building was completed. Beginning with 291 books, the library grew over the years and has occupied a number of structures. The original library building was moved to this site in 1983. The members of the Chat work Club remain active in community affairs.”
Reef Road, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“Early settlers in the eastern and central areas of San Patricio County faced difficulty traveling across Corpus Christi Bay to Corpus Christi, the main center for trade. The reef road, which according to local tradition was discovered by Indians, was the shortest and most favored route. Consisting of oyster shell reefs close to the water's surface, the road was passable only at low tide. Construction of the railroad (1887) and first causeway (1915) across the bay signaled a decline in usage of the road, but it remains an important part of the county's history.” 
Bell Whittington Library:
The library offers traditional library services, public computer and internet access, and sponsors Movie Nights. The Friends of the Library sponsor an annual Easter Egg Hunt. Open Mon-Thu, 9am-8pm; Fri, 9am-5pm; Sat, 10am-2pm; closed Sundays. (361) 777-0921. 2400 Memorial Parkway, Portland. Email
Annual Sunset Challenge Run/Walk, Jan:
Categories include a 10K, 5K, and a 2 mile family run/walk. A deluxe champagne brunch is served at the Northshore Country Club at 801 East Broadway Avenue. (361) 673-2475. Email  
Annual Windfest, April:
Activities include a parade, kite surfing and flying, a miniature yacht demo, a sail fishing contest, wind related storytelling, a wind energy generator display, cook-offs, a carnival, food vendors, horseshoes and washers, a petting zoo, basketball, a dachshund dash, a pageant, and live music. (361) 673-2475. This event is held at the Portland Community Center & City Hall Grounds at 2000 Billy G. Webb Drive.
Annual Miles 4 Meals Glow, Nov:
Proceeds from this nighttime 5K run/walk, 2 mile walk, and 1K Kids Fun Run, benefit the food bank. This event takes place along Portland streets and the North Shore Country club at 801 East Broadway Avenue. (361) 673-2475. Email
Mac’s Barbeque Restaurant:
They serve very good barbeque. (361) 643-5589. 219 SH 35, Gregory, 78359. Reviews