CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — What began as a trading post, founded by Colonel Henry Lawrence Kinney back in the 1830s is now known as the "Sparkling City by the Sea."
General Zachary Taylor put Corpus Christi on the international stage in 1845 when he camped in the area with his troops during the war with Mexico.
Corpus Christi was incorporated in 1852. Within the last 170 years, the city has transformed.
"Today our city is thriving with a vibrant downtown, a sparkling marina, a beautiful sea wall and so much more." Corpus Christi Mayor Paulette Guajardo said during a speech at City Hall. "Visitors and residents alike gather at our Whataburger Field, home of our beloved Corpus Christi Hooks. And there's always a crowd surrounding our beautiful statue of Selena alongside our beautiful bay."
The City of Corpus Christi hosted its 170th Birthday celebration Thursday morning at City Hall.
Celebrating the city's milestone included long-time residents and even some of the city's youngest members like five-month-old Diana Attwood.
Her grandmother Karen Howden held her in her arms as Mariachi music played at the event.
Howden, just like her granddaughter, was born in Corpus Christi. She said she's proud to call the Coastal Bend her home after more than 60 years.
"I have lived here all my life. I went to school here, the university here, and worked here the entire time. I have seen this city grow." said Howden.
KRIS 6 News acknowledges the changes the city has been through in almost two centuries and asked Howden what has stayed the same.
"The people, the people," she responded. "Corpus Christi is very diverse and it's because it's a port town. It's just a typical mid-sized city that has everybody here. It has everybody here and it's just a wonderful place."
Coastal Bend Historian and author Mary Jo O’Rear was in attendance at Thursday's event. She shared joyous moments with other residents, celebrating the city's history and accomplishments.
However, she says it's important to keep making improvements and preserve the Coastal Bend.
"We have such a unique thing being on a bay and so close to the gulf and we need to preserve it because we're all together, the animals, the environment, and the people," said O'Rear. "Firstly, we are part of a whole system that we need to pay attention to. Secondly, we all work together. And that was a thing that came out after the 1919 Hurricane. Everyone came out to work together. And thirdly, we've become more and more aware of each other."
Corpus Christi Fire Department and Corpus Christi Police Department also share their city's birthday. The fire department was established in 1872 and is 150 years old. The police department is as old as its city.
Here are some of the things Corpus Christi is famous for:
- The Port of Corpus Christi is one of the largest gateways for U.S. energy exports and the third largest seaport in the nation in total waterway tonnage. The Port of Corpus Christi has been operational since 1986.
- The Texas State Aquarium, which is the largest in Texas and one of the largest in the United States.
- USS Lexington arrived in Corpus in 1992 and served as a museum and educational facility ever since. The ship is as tall as a 19-story building and its flight deck is as large as three football fields combined.
- Corpus Christi’s beaches are a staple natural resource in the city. Bayfront beaches (North Beach and McGee Beach) are nationally recognized as among the best-restored beaches in the country by ASBPA in 2010 and 2012.