Where Texas Meets the Sea: Corpus Christi and Its History

Hardcover | February 28, 2015

byAlan Lessoff

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A favorite destination of visitors to the Texas coast, Corpus Christi is a midsize city that manages to be both cosmopolitan and provincial, networked and local. It is an indispensable provider of urban services to South Texas, as well as a port of international significance. Its industries and military bases and, increasingly, its coastal research institutes give it a range of connections throughout North America. Despite these advantages, however, Corpus Christi has never made it into the first rank of Texas cities, and a keen self-consciousness about the city’s subordinate position has driven debates over Corpus’s identity and prospects for decades.

In this masterful urban history—a study that will reshape the way that Texans look at all their cities—Alan Lessoff analyzes Corpus Christi’s place within Texas, the American Southwest, the western Gulf of Mexico, and the U.S.-Mexican borderlands from the city’s founding in 1839 to the present. He portrays Corpus as a place where westward Anglo expansion overwhelmed the Hispanic settlement process from the south, leaving a legacy of conflicting historical narratives that colors the city’s character even now. Lessoff also explores how competing visions of the city’s identity and possibilities have played out in arenas ranging from artwork in public places to schemes to embellish, redevelop, or preserve the downtown waterfront and North Padre Island. With a deep understanding of the geographic, historical, economic, and political factors that have formed the city, Lessoff demonstrates that Corpus Christi exemplifies the tensions between regional and cosmopolitan influences that have shaped cities across the Southwest.

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From the Publisher

A favorite destination of visitors to the Texas coast, Corpus Christi is a midsize city that manages to be both cosmopolitan and provincial, networked and local. It is an indispensable provider of urban services to South Texas, as well as a port of international significance. Its industries and military bases and, increasingly, its coa...

Format:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:February 28, 2015Publisher:UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292768230

ISBN - 13:9780292768239

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. A City over Space and across Time

2. A Texas Seaport in Texas Lore

3. City on a Frontier of Peoples

4. Public Sculpture and Civic Identity

5. A Matter of Little Import

6. A Dynamic and Progressive City

Conclusion

Acknowledgments

Notes

Index

Editorial Reviews

A favorite destination of visitors to the Texas coast, Corpus Christi is a midsize city that manages to be both cosmopolitan and provincial, networked and local. It is an indispensable provider of urban services to South Texas, as well as a port of international significance. Its industries and military bases and, increasingly, its coastal research institutes give it a range of connections throughout North America. Despite these advantages, however, Corpus Christi has never made it into the first rank of Texas cities, and a keen self-consciousness about the city’s subordinate position has driven debates over Corpus’s identity and prospects for decades.In this masterful urban history—a study that will reshape the way that Texans look at all their cities—Alan Lessoff analyzes Corpus Christi’s place within Texas, the American Southwest, the western Gulf of Mexico, and the U.S.-Mexican borderlands from the city’s founding in 1839 to the present. He portrays Corpus as a place where westward Anglo expansion overwhelmed the Hispanic settlement process from the south, leaving a legacy of conflicting historical narratives that colors the city’s character even now. Lessoff also explores how competing visions of the city’s identity and possibilities have played out in arenas ranging from artwork in public places to schemes to embellish, redevelop, or preserve the downtown waterfront and North Padre Island. With a deep understanding of the geographic, historical, economic, and political factors that have formed the city, Lessoff demonstrates that Corpus Christi exemplifies the tensions between regional and cosmopolitan influences that have shaped cities across the Southwest."Corpus Christi is very lucky that Alan Lessoff called that community home for so many years and took it seriously and on its own terms—the book reflects his deep knowledge of its history and present state, his considerable love for its conversations and arguments, tempo and tempests across time. I cannot imagine a more definitive study of the “Sparkling City by the Sea.” The book [also] makes a very strong contribution to the literature on urban history in the United States; its close reading of a peripheral place speaks directly to dilemmas and challenges facing the nation’s mega cities. That’s a major achievement, and one more reason why I am delighted to recommend the book with such enthusiasm." - Char Miller, W. M. Keck Professor of Environmental Studies, Pomona College, and author of Deep in the Heart of San Antonio: Land and Life in South Texas and On the Edge: Water, Immigration, and Politics in the Southwest