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San Patricio County TX
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San Patricio County, Gulf Coast / South Texas

285'39"N 9749'38"W (28.094098, -97.827323)
FM 359 just off Interstate Highway 37
20 miles W of Sinton
37 miles NW of Corpus Christi
24 miles S of Beeville
31 miles NE of Alice
Population: 4,942 (2010) 5,034 (2000) 5,423 (1990)

Book Hotel Here › Mathis Hotels
Mathis Texas Streetscape
Mathis street scene
TE photo, February 2006
History in a Pecan Shell

In 1887 when the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railroad was laying tracks across San Patricio County, Thomas H. Mathis got naming rights when he donated 300 acres for a townsite and school. Mathis could well afford 300 acres since he and his brother J. M. Mathis, held 37,000 acres in the vicinity. The brothers had dropped out of the Coleman, Mathis, Fulton Cattle Company in 1879. Thomas Mathis owned an additional 60,000 acres around Mathis and built a fence enclosing the town. As late as 1906 Mathis was enclosed and arriving and departing trains had to be let in and let out.

Mathis' success was partially fueled by residents of Lagarto moving to be near the railroad. The Mathis post office opened in 1890 and the towns first school was held in a private residence in 1893. Two years later a one-room school built and in 1913 a second railroad (The San Antonio, Uvalde and Gulf Pacific) arrived.

Cotton and corn crops were grown and ranching was an important part of the economy. During the 30s, winter vegetable crops were grown and both railroads maintained shipping sheds. Mathis incorporated in 1939.

In the early 1950s 7,000 acres of land two miles north of town were developed for vegetable crops - complete with irrigation and deep water wells. Cotton, corn and sorghum replaced vegetables in the 60s.

In the 1930s the Nueces River was dammed and Lake Mathis (since renamed Lake Corpus Christi) was formed. Construction of the Wesley Seale Dam in the late 50s raised the level of the lake to where it became desirable for weekend homes.

In 1988 Mathis had a population of 5,910 which has since decreased to 4,942.
Mathis TX - The It Theater

The "It Theatre"
Photo courtesy Barclay Gibson, August 2011
More Texas Theatres

"The photo of the old theater in Mathis, TX is that of the "It Theater". Named as such because the auditorium was actually an old Quonset hut. It stood out in the normal skyline as being rather strange looking. Hence the name of the theater. I saw hundreds of movies there in the 50's and 60's as a child and teen, including The Creature From The Black Lagoon. It was a long scary walk/run home that night. Thanks for all of your work." - Dennis Parrish, Daphne, AL, October 10, 2019
Mathis TX ice house
TE photo, February 2006
Mathis Texas building
TE photo, February 2006
Old neon in Mathis Texas
Old neon
TE photo, February 2006
More Old Neons
Mathis TX - railroad tracks & silos
TE photo, February 2006
More Texas Grain Elevators
"The photo entitled "Tracks" shows the old "Big 6" grain elevator. The tracks are running south towards Lake Mathis (now lake Corpus Christi). My great Uncle and great aunt Putt and Beulah Crenshaw lived in a home just to the left of the area shown in the photo. My grandparents Pete and Annie Krager lived a few blocks southeast of the area.

My father Bill Parrish was a manager of the elevator in the 50's. During "grain season" when farmers would harvest grain sorghum and milo maize it was not unusual for dump trucks being lined up 100 deep to unload the grain at the elevator. It was a dusty and itchy environment to work in.

It could be a dangerous workplace also as evidenced by the death of one of the employees, a young handsome Hispanic gentleman named Ambrosio. He slipped into an auger that transported grain from silo to silo (shown on the left of the photo) and lost his leg immediately and bled to death. There was no protective covering over the auger system.

Thank you for this website." - Dennis Parrish, Daphne, AL, December 26, 2019

Mathis Chronicles:

Onion Season and the Triplets
by Dennis Parrish
Mathis, Texas wasn't really big in the mid 50's. And it still isn't, nor was it ever. In those pre-air conditioning days, a highlight of early summer was "onion season". The railroad that ran through town became a hub of busy-ness for a brief two-week period each year for the annual harvest of the onion crop... more

Great Aunt Jane's Pair of Scares
by Maggie Van Ostrand
"It's 1944 and supper is finished, dishes washed, and anticipation high, for we are all sitting on the floor in front of a carefully stoked fire waiting for the evening's storytelling to begin. Miss Ruth Dodson of Mathis is about to relay the two scariest things that happened to her great Aunt, as they had been relayed to her. It might go something like this..." more
Mathis Texas water tower
Mathis water tower

TE photo, February 2006
More Water Towers
Mathis TX - Betty Boop
Betty Boop in Mathis
TE photo, February 2006

Mathis, Texas Area Towns:
Corpus Christi | Beeville | Alice
See San Patricio County | Gulf Coast | South Texas

Related Subjects:
Texas Railroads | Texas Towns

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