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May 23, 2008

Year 13. Issue 311

In 1950 the North Padre Island Causeway with swing-bridge was built and had a one dollar toll until the bond was paid off in 1967. It remained in use until the present “high bridge” was opened in 1973. In 1968 the causeway was renamed JFK Causeway and one million cars crossed the swing bridge that year which was 80% more than the year before. The volume was attributed to the tourists in the area for the San Antonio World’s Fair. Thirty countries participated and it attracted six million visitors. Much of the traffic that year also was due to the opening of the National Sea Shore.

North Padre Island Causeway Reconnects the Island to the Mainland     by Mary Craft

This is the tollbooth located at the entrance to the North Padre Island Causeway. The toll was $1.00 from 1950 to 1967, when the revenue bonds were paid off. The causeway was renamed to The JFK Causeway in the late 60’s.

Loma Alta Motel, the first on the Island opened in 1951 at the highest point on the Island (where the Loma Alta Plaza is currently located) which provides a great view, benefit from the cooling gulf breeze and protection from the blowing sand. This height also was chosen because of the safety it offered from storms and water.  The drawbridge was constructed in 1950 allowing easier access to the Island. E.O. Lehman, the motel owner, had high expectations for Island development. Lehman said, “We plan to grow with Padre Island. Eventually, we intend to have at least 40 units, complete with swimming pool, tennis courts, club room, etc.” Needless to say, none of that happened. (Loma Alta translates to High Hill in Spanish.)

The Don Patricio Causeway was blown away by a hurricane in 1933. The shallow Laguna could still be transversed by horseback or burro and cattle could still be driven across it. Some die-hard car owners took their vehicles across with hand drawn ferries. This all changed in 1949 when the Intracoastal waterway was dredged from Florida to Brownsville. It provided a full Gulf Coast shipping lane. The Island became accessible only by boat. Cattle had to be taken by truck trailers to the ferries at Port Aransas.      The North Padre Island causeway was built in 1950. The first six months more than 51,000 cars crossed, more than half were from outside Nueces county and 13% from out of state. There was a tollbooth at the Flour Bluff entrance that collected $1.00 per vehicle and $1.50 for a trailer. For those times that was a pretty hefty price to go to the beach. Beach campers who spent more than a couple of days would drive to the laundromat near the toll booth. They would park just before the booth and shlep their clothes over to wash to avoid paying another toll. By 1967 enough tolls were collected to pay off the revenue bond. At about this same time it was renamed JFK Causeway.       The two-lane highway had a swing bridge at the Intracoastal which was made up of two barges with an asphalt top. The single man bridge operator would lower the railroad track type trestles when a boat approached. One barge would swing west and the other east. It was an interesting bouncy ride across this part of the causeway.       Fishing was popular along the causeway as it is

now and there were several bait stands including Red Dot which is still there. When there was a long wait because the bridge was open, car passengers would jump out to these stands to buy beer.      Summer weekends there would be a long line going way back past the Oso. Every summer there was at least one driver that drove right through the trestle into the usually twenty foot deep water. Some of those unfortunate passengers drowned.       In 1951 Loma Alta Motel was built in anticipation of the influx of tourists the new access would create. Mr. And Mrs. E.O. Lehman who built it also lived there with their two children and rented out the four units with kitchenettes. They had planned to later add 40 more units, tennis court and pool but that never materialized. The motel closed the rental units in the sixties but the couple lived there until they passed. It was eventually torn down and the land is now where Loma Alta Plaza sits.       Many tourists came to “Treasure Island” to beachcomb. The most popular beachcomber was Frenchy who had a bar with many of his finds displayed. It was at the corner where American Bank is now located. “Frenchy’s” became nationally known in the 60s when the first topless wedding was held there. The bride was arrested some years later for bank robbery in Corpus.       Frenchy opened a seafood restaurant where Doc’s now stands but it burnt to the ground and the land sat vacant for a few years during the investigation. He later opened a restaurant at North Beach. Gene French passed away in 2005 at the age of 77.

Fundraiser for Thanksgiving dinners set for May 31st Flour Bluff business owner raises money for families

The folks at the Flightline Tavern are holding a fundraiser on Saturday, May 31st to raise money to buy Thanksgiving turkeys for families in Flour Bluff who can use some help come the holidays. The Flightline, located is 10506 SPID, and 100% of the proceeds will go to the families. There will be an auction at 5 p.m., Shish Kabob plates, and entertainment by Tequila Sunrise. Donations will be accepted. For more information call Butch at 563-7434. Go by and check it out. SLC third graders Celeste Branstrom and Zane Ortega (behind) are all smiles as they receive their math awards at the AIMS tournament.

Energy Star Sales Tax Holiday Memorial Day Weekend May 24-26, 2008 During Memorial Day weekend, Texas shoppers get a break from state and local sales and use taxes on purchases of certain energy efficient products. The 2008 Energy Star sales tax holiday begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 24, and ends at 11 :59 p.m. on Monday, May 26 (Memorial Day). The products qualifying for the exemption are: air conditioners priced under $6,000 (room and central units), clothes washers (but not clothes dryers), light bulbs (incandescent and fluorescent), programmable thermostats and refrigerators priced under $2,000. Qualifying products will display the Energy

Deadline for all Moon matter is Monday of the week of the paper not Wednesday or Thursday or Friday.

Star logo, which may appear on the appliance, the packaging or the Energy Guide label. Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Earning the Energy Star means a product meets strict energy efficiency guidelines set by these two federal agencies. Delivery & Installation Charges. Delivery, shipping, handling or transportation charges connected to the sale of a qualifying item purchased tax free during the sales tax holiday also qualify for the exemption. Such charges are included as part of the sales price of qualifying products sold during the holiday whether separately stated or not. For example, assume a retailer sells an Energy Star-rated dishwasher tax-free during the sales tax holiday and charges the customer an additional fee for delivery. The entire amount billed to the customer for the purchase and delivery of the qualifying appliance is exempt from tax, even if the delivery charge is separately stated or billed after the sale.

SMA students who participated in the AIMS tournament include: (back row) Coach Colleen McIntyre, Kim, Kelsey McIntyre, Sloane Taylor, Isabel VanTassel, and Gabrielle Gray; (middle row) Thomas Evaristo, Charles Quigley, Nick May, Hunter Copeland, Nick Peterson, and Stephen Flores; (front row) J.J. Morris and Alyx Henderson. Not pictured: Stephen Chisholm and Joey Tate.

Fun Family Events Highlight Free Fishing Day June 7th A “Free Sportfishing Day” will highlight National Fishing and Boating Week, allowing anglers to fish any public waters in Texas without a fishing license on Saturday, June 7. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials said the special day in this state, authorized by the Texas Legislature, is intended to promote fishing and encourage people to enjoy the state’s fishing resources. Both resident and nonresident recreational anglers will be allowed to fish without a license and will not be required to have special stamps such as the saltwater or freshwater fishing stamps. The eighth annual National Fishing and Boating Week is June 1-8 with thousands of local events in communities across the country. Events will provide hands-on opportunities for families and friends to share fun, quality time together while learning about two of our nation’s favorite pastimes — boating and fishing.

National Fishing and Boating Week is a key component of the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s national awareness campaign, Take Me Fishing. Funded by the federal government’s Sport Fish Restoration Program, the non-profit Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation was created to increase participation in fishing and boating and focus attention on the need to protect the nation’s aquatic resources. Similarly, TPWD fisheries and state park officials began the Free Fishing in State Parks program a few years ago to encourage folks to fish and visit state parks. This year marks the fifth year of the Free Fishing in State Parks program that waives fishing license and stamp requirements within more than 50 Texas state parks. On the Net:

North Padre Swing Bridge  

JFK causeway swing bridge connects North Padre Island with mainland.