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Bay Street Park

Texas City Mayor, Mayor Charles T. "Chuck" Doyle, envisioned the development of Bay Street Park in May 1990. The Park is generally bounded by Bay Street to the west, the Hurricane Protection Levee to the east, 25 Avenue to the north and the Dike Road to the south. It is composed of about 50 acres of land and 50 acres of fresh water lagoon.
        After purchase and acquisition of the property was completed, Texas Parks and Wildlife gave permission to proceed with construction of the Park. The City's public works crew, under the direction of Harlan Melancon, began preliminary site work in February of 1993. One year later, Phase I of the park was completed.
        The Bay Street Park project was funded through a combination of state grants, volunteer contributions and services, city funds, and city in-kind labor and equipment.
         Phase II of the Park includes the 22 acres of property, the four soccer fields, the pavilion, trails, boat ramp, parking lots, multipurpose courts, two observation piers, two bridges, and associated utilities.
        The Park Amenities and Enhancements were elements added tot he park to improve it's appearance, functionality, and historical significance and were not funded by Parks and Wildlife grants. The majority of the enhancements were provided by civic and corporate contributions and volunteer work groups. The major historical enhancement element was the "Wings of Heritage" display.

Dedication
Phase I of the Park was dedicated on July 2, 1994 at a ceremony attended by 600 citizens and guests.

Park Amenities
        As the basic park construction was nearing completion, planning for additional park amenities began. The City's plans for Bay Street Park included a display recognizing the historical importance of the site as the home of the First U.S. Aerosquadron from 1913 to 1915.
        Mayor Doyle appointed a committee made up of General Harry Conrad, Fred Sandberg, and Gus Campbell, who were responsible for obtaining the F-100 and building the 1913 biplane.

Wings of Heritage Display
        After working closely with the City's Museum Committee members, the display of a stainless steel replica of one of the original aircraft, a 1913 Burgess and Curtis Biplane, was constructed. A F-100 Saber Jet was acquired through the U.S. Air Force in Arizona. The F-100 Saber Jet was shipped to the City in several large components. Upon arrival, it was assembled and painted by a City work crew.
        The stainless steel replica of the 1913 Burgess and Curtis Biplane was designed by Fred Sandberg. Donations were received from local industries to provide stainless steel materials for the replica's components. Raymond Guidry of Tennille Metal Works, Inc., fabricated the plane. A central display wall on which several historical plaques and the flag pole is mounted was also constructed. Both planes were towed to the Park site in May 1994.

Other Park Amenities

The theme of the Bay Street Park was community involvement and many groups provided labor, materials, and money at the invitation of Mayor Doyle. Several volunteer civic groups participated in providing extra park amenities:

  • U.S. Forest Service - Trees were provided with the assistance of a $20,000 grant to the Texas City Recreation and Tourism Department by the U.S. Forestry Service Small Business Program. Bradshaw's Nurseries of League City donated and installed nearly 130 trees, consisting mostly of bald cypress, live oak, pecan, drake elms and willows throughout the park.
  • Sterling Volunteers - Sterling Chemical Company Incorporated and its employee volunteers provided three park amenities: the North Timber Bridge, landscaping, and lighting at the Wings of Heritage display. Two of the timber bridges were installed as part of the Texas Parks and Wildlife basic park project, however, two additional bridges were deemed necessary to better facilitate the hiking and jogging trail. The volunteers constructed one of the additional bridges (a 90-ft. long, 8-ft wide timber bridge) on the north end of the park. In addition, they furnished and planted landscaping and grass sodding for the Wings of Heritage display.
  • Amoco Volunteers/Torch Classic - Amoco volunteers from all over the country came to Texas City to participate in their annual "Torch Classic" event and do volunteer work throughout the community. One of Amoco's volunteer projects, in conjunction with their annual "torch Classic" event, was to provide and install 10 park benches, 15 picnic tables, and a large piece of playground equipment in the Park.
  • Carbide Volunteers - One of the extra timber bridges were provided and constructed by the Carbide Volunteers. This 75-ft. long bridge leads to the observation island close to the pavilion.
  • Challenger 7 Memorial - The Southwestern Bell employee volunteer organization "Telephone Pioneers" furnished and installed a memorial to the Challenger 7 astronauts who died in the tragic space shuttle explosion on January 28, 1986. The memorial consists of a granite monument centered in a circle of seven live oak trees.

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        Construction of Phase III of Bay Street Park, called Bay Family Park, located on 15 acres north of Dike Road will begin in 1998. The property was donated by Texas City National Bank and a contribution by Sterling Chemicals will finance a major portion of the Park. Other contributions by Phibro Refining Company, Texas City Jaycees, Texas City Lions club, and the Larry Edrozo Family assisted with the park facilities. A matching grant application to the Texas Parks & Wildlife has been submitted.
         Bay Family Park is designed as playground picnic park with major emphasis on our special children and families. The playground equipment will be many of the park amenities. The center of the park will have a gazebo funded by Texas City Jaycees. Parks amenities will include two picnic pavilions, tables, barbecue pits, volleyball courts, horseshoe pits, two softball fields, a children's amphitheater, and of course the largest assembly of handicap-accessible playground equipment in the region. Additionally, a wetland habitat viewing area will be provided.

Halfmoon Shoal Lighthouse

        In 1992, Mayor Doyle envisioned a lighthouse replica, located on Skyline Drive, to display facts and photos of the Texas City bayshore facilities and wildlife. The pavilion, dedicated on April 4, 1998, is a scale model of Halfmoon Shoal Lighthouse which was located about 2-1/2 miles off the Texas City shore line from about 1855 to 1900. Funding for the lighthouse was partially provided by Rotary Club of Texas City, Texas City Rotary Foundation, and Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.

Thomas S. Mackey Nature Center
Dedicated in February 1998 to Eagle Boy Scouts and Golden Girl Scouts.

        The Thomas S. Mackey Nature Center is a 35-acre wildlife habitat in the north section of the Park. The Center consists of nature trails and observations points where visitors can view the abundance of waterfowl, songbirds, wildlife and vegetation native to the Texas City coastline. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts played a major role in the development of the Center, building totem poles, foot bridges and other facilities.
        The Nature Center is dedicated to Eagle Scouts of the Galveston County mainland in hor of Dr. Thomas S. Mackey, an Eagle Scout and long-time Boy Scout leader in Texas City. Dr. Mackey assisted the City with the purchase of this land by the City of Texas City for the entire Bay Street Park complex. Over 400 names honoring scouts are listed on displays at each entrance to the Center.

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Bay Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America

Totem Pole Facts

Totem Pole Facts

        The American Northwest Coast Indians had a wonderful way of recording their stories -- they carved them on poles. These poles were carved with strange and beautiful figures representing people, animals, birds, and fish, as well as imaginary creatures from Indian legend. Totem poles reveal much about Indian superstition, life, and legend. They are the unwritten language of the old Indian world.
         Totems are read from the top downward. At the top is the tribe of the husband and on the bottom is the tribe of the wife. In the middle are the heroics of ancestors, either husband's or wife's, whichever were better known by the native myths.
         A totem pole served, in essence, as the emblem of a family or clan and often as a reminder of its ancestry.

The Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910. Under the leadership of Dr. James E. Est, the Boy Scouts of America was formally chartered by the United States Congress in 1916.
         Made up of Brazoria and Galveston Counties, the Bay Area Council of the Boy Scouts was chartered by the Rotary Club of Galveston in 1919. Troops in the Texas City-LaMarque area were initiated in 1926.
         Today, the Bay Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America offers opportunities for young men to participate in Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting and for young men and women to be a part of Exploring.

Park Participation

         In February 1997, Texas City Mayor Doyle met with the Executive Director of the Bay Area Council to outline the plan for Texas City's Nature Park honoring area Boy Scout Eagle and Girl Scout Gold Award recipients. Mainland scout leaders quickly approved the project and organized the local troops.
         Eight 50-ft. totem poles were donated by Thomasson Lumber Company of Philadelphia, Mississippi and Mrs. and Mr. Kermit Stephens of Cahalsa Pressure Treated Company, Monterail, Alabama. The shipping costs were donated by Houston Lighting and Power Company.
         The carving and painting of the poles were accomplished by over 120 boy and girl scouts, their leaders, and interested citizens. The work was supervised by Scouter Bob Huffman of Virginia and by Scout Leader Jim Hill of Tyler, Texas, who donated their time and wood-carving talents. The Knights of Columbus in LaMarque provided the work space of the project. Texas-New Mexico Power Company of Texas City performed the installation.
         The eight totem poles, each representing a troop from the Texas City and LaMarque area, are spaced along the nature trails throughout the park. A ninth pole was carved for Camp Karankawa.
         Two Boy Scouts, Brett Pirtle and Josh Henderson, of Troop 232 supervised the construction of a timer bridge as an Eagle Scout project. Other scout projects such as benches and tree identification are scheduled for 1998.

"Take only photographs - leave only footprints"

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Texas City is located in Galveston County, Texas, a part of the Mainland Texas Gulf Coast area. Since before the turn of the century, it has a colorful, and an interesting story to tell. Whether you are living here or planning to visit, be sure to come and see the beauty and historical attractions the city has to offer.
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Last updated:  Nov. 3, 2011
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