Downtown Port Isabel in the early-1980s. The 2nd Queen Isabella Causeway opened for traffic in September 1974. The traffic pattern through Port Isabel changed as a result of the new route. Garcia Street (the last street before crossing the causeway) was less traveled and Maxan Street, one block north of Highway 100 became more developed. Directly behind the Lighthouse, scaffolding is still up on the building that now houses Los Cabo’s Restaurant. Purdy’s Courts, in the lower right-hand corner (the white 2-story buildings) was torn down in February of 1984. The Lighthouse was operated by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. A Visitor Center (the Keeper’s Cottage) would not be constructed for another decade. The building that now houses the The Lighthouse Boutique Hotel is pictured just in front of the cranes. Pop’s Surf Shop, a staple stop to surfers and skateboarders, was right next to Purdy’s Courts. Next door was Seagull Imports. The billboard to the lower left advertised Outdoor Resorts (Long Island Village) across the swing bridge on Garcia Street.
Downtown Port Isabel pays homage to the Lighthouse on the hill. Every business around that block has a front door which opens in its direction. Eventually, Maxan, Tarnava and Garcia Streets were made into a one way streets to help with traffic flow entering and exiting the Queen Isabella Causeway. NOTE: The wind was out of the north the day this photo was taken.
Text by Valerie D. Bates. Photo: V.Bates Collection.