As it's directly located on the coast, most would expect Palacios to have the story of most any seaside town. But that couldn’t be further from the truth! Palacios was a thriving military base during World War II and the destination for several politicians and actors. It was also the site of La Salle's shipwreck of the La Belle in 1686, and the grounds of the Karankawa Indians.
CITY BY THE SEA MUSEUM
If you want to get up-to-speed quickly on the history of Palacios, visit the City by the Sea Museum located in the center of the town. There you can see exhibits on La Salle's shipwreck, the La Petite Belle, Camp Hulen, Fishing, Agriculture, Hurricane Carla, and the Karankawa Indians. There is a complete timeline and multimedia available for a rich historical experience of the town and immediate area.
La Petite Belle is a half-scale reproduction of Rene-Robert Cavelier’s ship LaBelle. It is sea-worth and occasionally sails the waters of the Palacios Bay. You can learn about its history at the City by the Sea Museum or at its website.
According to the City by the Sea Museum:
"Camp Hulen began as a Texas National Guard Camp in the mid 20's and became an Army base during WWII in the 40's. There were 14,000 troops here. You could hardly walk on the sidewalks it was so crowded. There were 3 movie theaters and bus service. Rita Hayworth and the likes of Artie Shaw came to entertain the troops. The call for military family housing was so great that people actually rented hallways and chicken coops."
Today the some of the barracks and grounds have been converted into the Texas Baptist Encampment.
Photo from usgenwebsites.org.
Check out the Fisherman’s Memorial, an amazing 12-ton statue that is a smaller replica of Christ the Redeemer. It is a memorial dedicated to the fishermen who have gone out to sea and not returned. It stands as a reminder to all fishermen who go out to sea, to be careful and to come back home safely.
The Palacios area has several historical markers within the city limits, including the Price-Farewell House pictured here. There are several historical homes, churches, schools, a cemetery, a WWII Texas National Guard camp as well as the historic Luther Hotel and the Baptist Encampment.
In fact, the Peaceful Pelican has a Texas historical marker!