Bolschwilley Estate’s Lesson in Declination

The Bolschwilley Estate is a set of tracts located in San Patricio County, Texas out of the De Hibernia Grant. Conrad Blucher surveyed these tracts back in April 1940 when the owner was considering subdividing their land. Right away we can see that those subdivisions did not pan through, and instead only a couple of larger subdivisions were made. Ed Saulter, our lead georectification tech, was served a quick refresher on magnetic declination as he researched how the due north-south and due east-west highways could have tilted so much. Thanks to NOAAs Historical Magnetic Declination viewer, he was able… Read more »


Mosquito Blood

On the 27th of February 1931, a Blucher Field crew surveying the Nueces Bay Shoreline came under attack. They were pinned down by the enemy, retreat no longer an option as they became surrounded. The enemy swarmed the land and skies around them, striking them with needle like projectiles. It was every surveyors biggest fear, mosquitoes. “There are 15 billion of them out here & all after me.” Fortunately, the Blucher crew prevailed after what we can only assume was a lifetime of enemy engagement and no reinforcements. By the time the dust had settled and the Blucher crew emerged… Read more »


What’s an atlas?

As surveyors, it is so easy to hear the word ‘map’ and have our mind go straight to boundary surveys and contour maps that we forget what the general population thinks of when they hear the word map; atlas. Of course an increasing number of my younger employees even know what an atlas is, with their fancy smart phones and on-board vehicle navigation systems. The point of the matter is, most people think about driving when they think about maps. Conrad Blucher saved many Texas Highway Maps throughout the years, and every time I see one I immediately look… Read more »


What is this?

As surveyors, proper field notes and documentation are a necessity to retain our status as a profession. We are held accountable to our work and evidence we create to support it. However, we are all subject to a case of the Monday’s every now and again. Usually we would just go back and correct our errors, but sometimes we just look at our work and say, “what is this?” Now I know what some of you are thinking, “that’s some greenhorn talk right there, I’m to good to make mistakes like that” (A salty surveyor), but even the greats make… Read more »


Stamp Tax

The Stamp Act of 1765 was largely responsible for enabling the American Revolution, as we all know. However, for those of us that can after the 50s, it may be shocking to learn that the United States used revenue stamps for various services through 1958. Documentary stamps were the most common of these stamps and were often used to pay notary and sale fees for land sales. Below you can see $39.60 in documentary stamps to complete a sale between A.G. Becker and W.T. Pulliam for the conveyance of an 80-acre tract out of the Memory Gardens of Corpus Christi…. Read more »


Whoa, whoa!

We’re halfway there! Whoa, whoa! We’re living on a prayer! We are officially halfway through digitally preserving the Blucher Field Book Collection. Thanks to the extremely hard work of Maria Cherry, Ryan Mayer, & Julissa Peña. At the current rate this team is going, there is no doubt that they will complete the project before the Fall Equinox. Looking back at the collection we wanted to reshare two of our favorite field book finds; Tarasco Language & “Also Wet”.


Corpus Christi, 1887

Corpus Christi, the Naples of South Texas, was established in 1839 by Colonel Henry Lawrence Kinney. In a mere 48 years Corpus Christi had already developed most of today’s downtown area. The only thing missing was Shoreline Boulevard. And Whataburger. And the Coliseum. And the Selena Memorial statue. Either way, the roads were laid and many structures erect. Taking a look at the birds eye view of Corpus Christi from 1887, many of us at Spatial {Query} Lab wanted to locate our favorite establishments. Below is the map with some of our favorite downtown establishments. As you… Read more »


Got Milk?

When Mr. Blucher was conducting the surveys for the new Borden plant in 1951 I’m sure an ice cold glass of milk was on his mind. Borden came to the city back in 1926 with 15 employees and 5 trucks, by 1951 both of these numbers had broken a hundred and Borden was inputting over $5 million into the Coastal Bend Community. This plat serves as a reminder that surveying is an integral part of growing communities and economic development. So don’t forget to point out that surveyor working on the side of the road to your kids. Explain to them… Read more »


Prehistoric GIS

Little known fact: prior to the Computer Age brains had to serve as our GIS and cartographic outputs were penned. In this collection we have thousands of historic maps and plats. For the most part they are boundary and topographic surveys at large scales (high detail, small area for those that have forgotten). Not to detract from the amount of work that went into these project, but they cannot compete with the complexity of most geoprocesses used in a quality geographic information system. That is why today I would like to present to you what I am calling ‘the oldest… Read more »


Where’s Doddridge?

Those that know Corpus Christi history know that many of our streets are named after the movers and shakers of the city’s past. Perry Doddridge, the man that opened the first bank in Corpus Christi, unsurprisingly has a street named after him as well. Living up to Perry Doddridge’s reputation for changing capitalistic ventures, so does the street. Doddridge was originally built as part of a beach front addition to the city. The area was home to the Memorial Coliseum before it was demolished in 2010. It is unknown if the street was renamed Kinney to specifically honor the founder of… Read more »