Victoria, Texas "Crossroads of the Coastal Bend"
In 1824 Martin De Leon received permission from the government of Mexico to establish a settlement between the Guadalupe River and the Lavaca River. He called the settlement Nuestra De Guadalupe De Victoria. Following Texas Independence, the name was shortened to Victoria. De Leon planned the city like most European and Mexican cities by building around a market square. This area today contains City Hall. The early settlers and friends of the founder, lived along Main Street which was known as LaCalle De Los Diez Amigos - The Street of Ten Friends.
After the Texas Revolution, Victoria began taking on Anglo-American characteristics. Under the new Republic of Texas, Victoria received the third charter issued by the new government and Victoria County was created on May 17,1836 with the city of Victoria as the county seat.
De Leon died during a cholera epidemic in 1833, and thus did not live to see much more than the beginning of his work.
Today, through ranching, oil, several chemical plants, 3 advanced hospitals and other commerce, a warm year round climate, fertile soil and an abundance of natural resources and water, Victoria continues to grow at a remarkable rate.
Victoria has many attractions and points of interest for a city of its size, but these don't just end with Victoria but also include the surrounding counties such as historic Goliad, the coastal county of Calhoun, the old homes and spring wild flowers of Dewitt county, the huge leather industry in Lavaca and the outdoor activities on the lake in Jackson county.
I guess I put this one first because it is one of my favorites. Outdoor recreational opportunities exist in great numbers in Victoria. Twelve parks are located within the city limits. The largest of the parks is Riverside Park, along the Guadalupe River. Within a 35 minute drive is Coletto Creek Reservoir, Lake Texana and Saxet Lake. All of these lakes offer water skiing, fishing and swimming. Coletto and Lake Texana also offer excellent bass fishing and have camping facilities. Approximately 30 miles away lies Port Lavaca, with it's 10 bays and 500 miles of shoreline combined with the Gulf of Mexico to provide salt water anglers some of the finest fishing in the world. Speckled Trout (up to 4-5 pounds), Redfish (up to 25 pounds), flounder and crabs are abundant. A little farther down the road (56 miles from Victoria) lies Port O'Connor one of the outlets to the Gulf of Mexico. Port O'Connor is a fishing and shrimping town, the InterCoastal Canal running along side of the town, carrying barges up and down the coast.
Coletto Creek Reservoir is located off Hwy. 59 14 miles south of Victoria. The 3,100 acre reservoir is a freshwater anglers dream offering Largemouth Bass, Striped Bass, Crappie, Catfish and Bluegill. The park has a 4 lane boat ramp and a 200' lighted fishing pier.
If camping is your desire the park offers 33 campsites year round with clean rest rooms and hot showers. A buoyed swimming area and a nature trail are also available.
The Texas Zoo is located in Riverside Park. Established in 1976, the Texas Zoo is young and growing. This zoo's collection consists exclusively of animals indigenous to Texas and offers the only opportunity for many people to observe native Texas wildlife at close range. In 1984, the Texas Legislature recognized the zoo's unique concept and contributions to wildlife conservation by proclaiming the Texas Zoo to be "The National Zoo of Texas".
Ten different habitats ranging from humid marshes to dry desert mountains and more than 700 species of animals are found within the state. The Texas Zoo exhibits a wide variety of these fascinating animals, such as the Armadillo, River Otter, Prairie Dog, Bald Eagle and many varieties of snakes.
Many endangered species also stay at the Texas Zoo, such as the nearly non existent Red Wolf, Victoria's Texas Zoo is one of the few zoos in the world to have 2 Red Wolves and to have had litters of pups. Other endangered species you are able to view is the Ocelot, Bald Eagle, Margay, Jaguarundi, and the Coati.
Riverside Park consists of 562 picturesque acres along the Guadalupe River. situated within the park is a 27-hole public golf course, an exercise trail, the Texas Zoo, the duck Pond and numerous picnic and playground facilities.
Softball and baseball fields abound in the northern part of the park. As you head south along the river road you'll see the Rose Garden on your left. Containing over 1000 roses it is one of only 7 accredited public rose gardens in Texas.
Across from the Rose Garden the road winds down the hill to the public boat ramp, near by is the RV park where travelers can stop and rest. Farther down the road, with the golf course on one side and the Guadalupe on the other, you'll pass many picnic areas and a playground for the kids.
The Duck Pond with it's beautiful Gazebo is abundant with friendly ducks waiting for a handout of bread. Past the Proshop at the golf course and farther down the road is Riverside Stadium, right across from the Horseman's Club.
Riverside Stadium is the home to many high school baseball games and tournaments.
The Texas Zoo is just around the corner, right near more picnic areas and a playground. As you leave the south entrance of the park you now enter "Old Victoria" with it's beautiful old homes.
It would take weeks to tell you about all the big beautiful homes that have been restored in the downtown area, many which are National Landmarks. It is well worth the time and gas just to drive around in "Old Victoria" and look at the beautiful homes and admire the workman ship from a 100 years ago.
The center of downtown is DeLeon Plaza. Dedicated for use only as a park, the block square plaza houses a charming gazebo and beautiful shade trees. At night when the trees are lit it makes a striking contrast to the old court house across the street.
The courthouse built in 1892 in Romanesque architecture, is made of
Texas granite and Indiana limestone. The old clock still strikes on the hour.
The original township was a 256 block area bounded by North, south, East and West streets. This area and surrounding areas contain over 2400 historic resources. Of these, over 100 structures are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
History of this area can be found at the McNamara House. the McNamara House was built in 1870 and houses memorabilia of Victoria's past (located at 502 N. Liberty).
Other points of interest in the downtown area are the Nave Museum, featuring works of Texas artists, the Old Mill, an old Dutch wind grist mill, Old No. 771, a steam engine that made it's last run right to Memorial Square where it is now located, Street of Ten Friends, and the Trail of Six Flags Monument (Texas was under the flags of Spain, France, Mexico, Texas the Confederacy and the Stars & Stripes.
There are 33 public and parochial schools in Victoria, serving more than 17,750 students.
Victoria College (1925) provides the first two years of higher education and the University of Houston-Victoria (1972) the final two years and Masters Degrees.
UH-Victoria offers a selected range of undergraduate and graduate programs in business, education and arts and sciences.
Texas Vocational School (1967) provides courses in Business, Computers, Electronics and Welding.
The City of Victoria's population is estimated at over 60,500 with a county population of 80,000
A city of churches, Victoria has 75 representing 22 denominations.
Largest Area Employers
Major employers in the Victoria area are....Victoria I.S.D., E.I. duPont de Nemours, Formosa Plastics, Union Carbide Corp., Alcoa, Inteplast Corp., Citizens Medical Center, Detar Hospital, Victoria College, Central Power and Light, City of Victoria, County of Victoria, HEB, Super Kmart and Super Walmart.
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