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 »


Tragedy on the Bay

Few people remember the Alta Vista Hotel in Corpus Christi. Its story is one of failed dreams and overlooked potential. The hotel was built by Colonel Elihu Harrison Ropes in the late Nineteenth Century. Ropes, who eventually had the street located between Sinclair & Doddridge dedicated in his honor, came to Corpus with hopes of molding a new economic hub out of the city on the bay. Unfortunately, his financial bakers from the East Coast pulled out only a few years into Ropes transformation and his dreams retreated with them. Defeated, Ropes left Corpus. This didn’t stop the construction of… Read more »


Visualization vs Transparency

Spatial analysis and CAD-based-cartography sure have come a long way since 1897. Just like with any new technology, the seasoned professionals in a field aren’t going to embrace the new way of doing things. Cartographers are no exception here. Many cartographers will publicize their disdain for computer-based-map making, just like many fans of static maps are disapproving of interactive maps, and just like every industry before, the power of the future has pushed many of the Nay-Sayers out of industry. Luckily there are groups (Spatial {Query} Lab, for instance) that recognize the importance of historical documents. My time in… 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 »


The Deliverable Conundrum

What do we want? Field note descriptions! When do we want it? SOON! I can only speak on behalf of construction projects, but I’m sure all surveyors have had that client that just seemed to think that as soon as you start breaking down the tripod the job was done. Forget that you still have hours of drafting, double checking, and package preparation to conduct before you can hand off the finalized project. This impression that the field crew is the extent of our profession is likely the culprit of this stigma. Deadlines and demands for deliverables is always a… Read more »


Spatial Fascination

Maps. Chances are if you’re on this site, you have some form of love for maps. Maps are these beautiful spatial interpretations that connect peoples and cultures alike. Whether it’s a geopolitical conversion of countries into perceived animals or a pocket map often found in the real-estate classifieds, maps have connected us one way or another. French & Haberer was a civil engineering firm in the Nueces County area in the early 1900’s that produced many of the maps and plats used by real-estate companies to advertise the beautiful cities and towns of South Texas. The French & Haberer Handy Pocket… Read more »


Give me a break

No matter what your profession is, every now and again we all just need a break. Back in 1924 surveyors weren’t able to escape reality by checking their Facebook notifications or calling friends or family on their cellphones. Instead, they created game boards on the backs of their preliminary plats! This simple pleasure serves as both a reminder of simpler times and a continued connection to humans across the ages. My only question to Mr. Blucher would be; what’d the client say when you turned in a plat with a chess board painted on the back?