The Friends of the History Center (FHC) announces its new exhibit “Sails, Trails, Rails and Wings” will open at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 13 at the History Center for Aransas County (801 East Cedar St.)

(Note: Social distancing will be practiced.)

The opening speaker is Ken Stavinoha who lists himself as “station agent” for the restored SAAP depot in Eagle Lake. His talk, “How Railroads Changed Texas,” will relate the importance of railroads to early Texans.

The new exhibit showcases the story of transportation in Aransas County. Artifacts, posters, maps and audio/visuals highlight the sailing ships, wagons, trains, cars, and airplanes that moved people and goods in and out of Aransas County.

Rockport began as a port town with the brisk transport of cattle to markets. At the same time in the late 1800s, trails connected to the Chisholm Trail at Cuero and the El Camino Real at Goliad. Much of that traffic was diverted when the railroad arrived in 1888. The Hug-the-coast highway brought tourists by car in the 1930s. Airplanes became a part of the scene in the 1940s when the county leased land to the Navy for training pilots before WW II.

Programs will be held at 2 p.m. every other Sunday. Seating is limited and masks are required. Make reservations by calling (361) 727-9214. Video of each presentation will be available on the history center’s website.

Future programs

• June 21 – Amy Borgens, THC State Underwater Archeologist “Dead in the Water: The Underwater Archeology of Aransas and Nueces Counties”

• July 12 – Ken Stavinoha, Station Agent in Eagle Lake, “San Antonio & Aransas Pass RR”

• July 26 – Bryan Gonzales, Chisholm Trail

• August 9 - Mike Geer, Aransas County Airport Manager, “Staging Hurricane Relief”

• Sept. 13 – Stephen Gonzales, El Camino Real de los Tejas

• Sept. 27 – GLO representative, Maps Showing Early Trails

FHC education committee members who researched and arranged the exhibit are Pam Stranahan, Leah Oliva, Maureen Winkelman, Kathryn Morrow, David Kroskie, and Sandy Garrison.

Loans of artifacts, maps, photos and models came from Ken Stavinoha, Tommy Shults, Jerry Brundrett, Steve Russell, and Turf Overturf.

This exhibit is funded in part by the Coastal Bend Community Foundation, Castaways Thrift Shop and Marguerite Sours Foundation.

Docent training for this exhibit will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, June 12. If one would like to learn more intriguing local history and engage visitors at the History Center (only 3 hours a month), please attend the training session.

The History Center is free to all visitors. It is open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays and Mondays, and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

To learn more visit www.thehistorycenterforaransascounty.org or call (361) 727-9214.

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