Gulf Coast
2010 Census - 12,248
2000 Census - 12,035
Port Lavaca, Texas
Port Lavaca Texas History:
Port Lavaca was founded after the Great Comanche Raid of 1840 destroyed the tiny town of Linnville. Most of the residents moved 3.5 miles southwest of the destroyed town and founded the town of Port Lavaca. Former Linnville resident Thomas McConnell purchased land from a De Leon’s colonist and called the new place Lavaca. Within a short period of time Lavaca became more successful than Linnville ever was. When Calhoun County was formed in 1846 Lavaca became the county seat. By November 1847 a stage line connected Lavaca to Victoria, and by 1852 the deep water port town of Indianola became the county seat. During the Civil War Lavaca was occupied by Union troops. By 1860 Lavaca’s population was half of Indianola’s. In 1864 an election gave the county seat back to Lavaca, but after the war it was returned to Indianola. The 1875 hurricane so damaged the railroad that Indianola became the only area port with a railroad connection. By 1884 Lavaca’s population was only 70 people. After Indianola was obliterated in the 1886 hurricane, the county seat was moved back to Lavaca and railroad service was reestablished. Lavaca’s name was changed to Port Lavaca. The town was shipping seafood, and the railroad ran weekend excursions to the coast. The town’s seawall was completed in 1920; in 1928 Port Lavaca shipped more shrimp than any other port in the country. In 1940 SH 35 was the only paved highway. In 1961 Hurricane Carla damaged the causeway forcing it to be converted into a fishing pier. Watch for Port Lavaca’s downtown murals. Port Lavaca is located on Lavaca Bay at the intersections of SH 35, U.S. 87 (West Main Street), SH 238 (W. Austin Street & Broadway Street), and FMs 1090 (Virginia Street) and 3084, 2 miles southwest of Point Comfort, 14 miles northwest of Indianola, 20 miles northeast of Seadrift, 25 miles southeast of Victoria, approximately 25 miles south of Edna, and 55 miles east of Goliad, Texas. 
Historic Port Lavaca, 1840, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“Founded in the aftermath of a Comanche raid on the nearby settlement of Linville, the town of Lavaca ("the cow") was established in 1840. The busiest port in the Matagorda Bay area and a major center for over-land export of cattle and other goods, Lavaca was an able successor to Linville. Lavaca was the first Calhoun County seat from 1846 to 1852, when Indianola assumed the role. The county seat was returned to Lavaca briefly during the Civil War, when the town withstood fire from Federal gunboats, then returned to Indianola. In 1886 Indianola was ravaged by a hurricane and Lavaca was again county seat. With railroad expansion in Texas, Lavaca moved away from cattle and turned to seafood. Called Port Lavaca from the late 1880s, the village boomed. Tourism and the population increased; several factories were opened; the town became a general law city in 1909. The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway was connected to Port Lavaca in 1913 and a seawall was completed in 1920. Shrimp and frozen seafood became major items for export. Natural gas and oil were discovered in 1934 and 1935. From the late 1940s major manufacturing began to contribute to Port Lavaca' s growth. Port Lavaca became a home rule chartered city in 1956, and a deep water port was located here in 1965. Port Lavaca celebrated 150 years of rich history in 1990.” The marker is located at the Bauer Community Center on SH 35, between SH 238 and Half Moon Drive, at Bauer Community Center at 2300 SH 35 North.
Historic Great Comanche Raid of 1840 and the Battle of Plum Creek:
The Comanches were angered by the Council House Fight of 1840. Seeking revenge, a group of Comanches led by Penateka Comanche War Chief Buffalo Hump raided white settlements from beyond the Edwards Plateau in West Texas (in the Texas Hill Country) to the cities of Victoria and Linnville on the Texas Gulf Coast. At this time, Linnville was the second largest port in Texas; it was destroyed. On the way back from the gulf the Comanches were attacked by Texas Rangers and militia at the Battle of Plum Creek. Volunteers from Gonzales under Matthew Caldwell, and volunteers from Bastrop under Ed Burleso, joined all the Texas Ranger companies in central and east Texas to move against the Comanches at Good’s Crossing at Plum Creek near Lockhart. Eighty Comanches were killed in this running gun battle, though the surviving Comanches were able to escape with their stolen horses and most of their ill-gotten plunder. Buffalo Hump continued to raid white settlements until 1856 when he led his band to the Brazos River Reservation. The town of Linnville never recovered from the Great Raid; most of its residents moved 3.5 miles southwest of Linnville and founded Port Lavaca, Texas.
Port of Port Lavaca-Point Comfort:
The port has been a designated United States Customs Port of Entry since 1963. The Matagorda ship channel opened to traffic in 1965 and serves hundreds of ships and barges each year. Primary cargos include chemicals, petrochemicals, aluminum ore, and agricultural fertilizer. Port facilities include three liquid cargo ship docks, a 1,100 foot pier with two ship berths and multiple loading arms, six barge slips and public barge staging area with 10 mooring dolphins. The port is served by the Point Comfort and Northern Railway, a short line railroad which connects with the Union Pacific main line 20 miles from the harbor. The port is managed by the Calhoun Port Authority. (361) 987-2813. Maps and Directions   
Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse, 1858:
The lighthouse was constructed on the southern tip of Halfmoon Reef, a shoal on the eastern side of Matagorda Bay. It was kept dark during the Civil War for the benefit of the blockade runners; it was reactivated in 1868. The lighthouse was restored and moved to the Bauer Community Center at 2300 SH 35 North at the west end of the causeway.
Calhoun County Courthouse, 1959:
This concrete and steel courthouse was designed in modern style by architects Rusty and Martin. Photos of the 1887 courthouse and the 1857 Indianola courthouse are on display in the current courthouse. The 2010 Calhoun County census was 21,381. 211 S. Ann Street, Port Lavaca, TX 77979.
La Salle Odyssey Projects, Museums of the Coastal Bend:
Seven museums tell the story of La Salle’s ship La Belle’s ill-fated 1686 expedition, her sinking, and the discovery and excavation of the La Belle and the settlement of Fort St. Lewis on Garcitas Creek 300 years later. The museums include the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History, The Texas Maritime Museum in Rockport, the Texana Museum in Edna, the Calhoun County Historical Museum in Port Lavaca, the Museum of the Coastal Bend in Victoria, the Matagorda County Museum in Bay City, and the La Petite Belle Homeport and Palacios Area Historical Museum in Palacios, Texas. Some articles are on display at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas. 
Calhoun County Historical Museum:
Exhibits include the Fresnel lens from the 1852 Matagorda Island Lighthouse, an 8 foot diorama of the town of Indianola, artifacts from the La Salle’s ship La Belle, and exhibits depicting early life in Calhoun County. Open Tue-Wed, 10:30am-4:30pm; Thu-Fri, 10:30am-5pm; Sat, 10am-3pm. (361) 553-4689. 301 S. Ann Street. Email  
Port Lavaca Main Street Theatre:
This renovated theater features an outside mural depicting life and activities in Calhoun County. The theater offers five performances each year including the June Children’s Production. Auditions are open to everyone. Tickets may be purchased in advance or at the door. (361) 552-4082. 315 East Main Street.A new building for the theater and for the Main Street organization is being created at 115 South Guadalupe Street. Email  
Port Lavaca Art Guild:
The guild offers regularly scheduled painting classes throughout the year, and offers winter painting and arts and crafts classes for year round residents and Winter Texans. Arts and crafts classes include ceramics, crocheting and jewelry making. It also hosts the annual Spring Art Show and Sale, and the annual Arts and Crafts & Antiques Festival. Studio: (361) 552-4378. Children’s Classes: (361) 552-5835. 308 East Mahan Street.
Victoria College Calhoun County Center at Port Lavaca:
The main Victoria College campus is located in Victoria, Texas. The Calhoun County Center offers a variety of college credit courses, workforce and continuing education course, and academic, career and financial aid counseling. (361) 553-4316. 900 North Virginia Street, TX 77979
Calhoun County Public Library:
The library provides traditional library programs, children, youth and adult programs, summer programs, public access computers with internet connections, and free Wi-Fi. Open Tue & Thu, 10am-8pm; Wed & Fri, 10am-6pm; Sat, 9am-1pm; closed Sunday and Monday. (361) 552-7323. 200 W. Mahan Street
Melcher’s Hardware, 1917:
(361) 552-9224. 203 E. Main Street.
Port Lavaca Community Garden:
Residents can rent a small plot of land and plant their own garden. A farmer’s market is held when crops are in abundance. (361) 552-2959. 
Event Venue - Bauer Community Center & Port Lavaca Visitor Center:
Amenities at this reservable facility include meeting rooms, men’s and women’s dressing rooms, concessions, restrooms, a lobby, and a kitchen. (361) 552-2959. 2300 SH 35 North.
Annual Spring Art Show & Sale, April:
This show is open to all artists and art students in Calhoun County. The show is open to the public after the judging on Saturday from noon-4pm. This event is hosted by the Port Lavaca Art Guild. This event is held at the Southern Pacific Railroad Depot at the corner of North Virginia and Railroad Streets. (361) 552-4378.
Annual Flip Flop Festival, Labor Day Weekend:
Activities include live music concerts, the Monster Dash 5K Run/Walk, a beer garden and a kid’s zone with games, and arts and crafts. (361) 552-2959.
Annual Calhoun County Fair, Mid-Oct:
Activities include a carnival, pageants, vendors, pony rides, an exotic petting zoo, live music, auctions, livestock shows, mutton bustin’, a talent show, entertainment, a B BQ cook-off, a pig scramble, a jalapeno eating contest and other contests, a dance and a ranch rodeo. 361-649-2114. The fairgrounds are located on CR 101, between SH 35 and SH 238. Email
Annual Arts and Crafts & Antiques Festival, 1st Weekend in Nov:
Vendors display fine arts, handcrafted items, antiques and plants. This event is hosted by the Port Lavaca Art Guild. (361) 552-6070. This event is held at the Bauer Community Center at 2300 SH 35 North.
Texas Traditions Grill & Bakery:
(361) 553-5555. 234 Main Street. Reviews
Shellfish Sports Bar & Grill: 
(361) 552-5300. 2615 Sh 35 North. Reviews