Historic Mural Restored in Port Isabel
PORT ISABEL – Charles Champion was built around 1899 and some say the history of Port Isabel started with the building.
A giant mural that covers an entire wall was restored recently. It covers the front of the entire two floors.
Artist Angel Hernandez of Harlingen was commissioned to do the detailed and tedious work to restore it.
Each fish on the mural has a lot of details. The fins, the eyes and the different color combinations of each one. There are over 200 fish on the mural.
It all started by taking pictures of the wall, finding out the exact location of each fish and then measuring the size.
The building is now part of the Museums of Port Isabel.
A packed house came to be part of the special unveiling ceremony. Champion family descendants came to share their stories.
“There was a hoosegow, which is a jail, in the back. One room they used for that,” one relative said.
“It was pretty much the center of Point Isabel, which was a fishing village,” Michael Cateora said. He is the chairman of the Historical Prevention Board.
At night, under the lights, it is a sight to see. The mural depicts the fish found in the Laguna Madre and the Gulf of Mexico.
“The living quarters were upstairs. Downstairs was the general store and everything associated with Mr. Champion’s business here,” Cateora said.
The building also served as their first post office, railroad depot and reportedly had the first telephone.
“The people who lived here basically made their living, fed their families from fishing,” Cateora said.
“It’s an honor to be here. Our grandfather built this house and we are all pleased that the museum people kept it,” Fred Champion, a grandson, said.
The recent restoration is the third time since 1906 and it’s keeping the city’s history alive.
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