Mathis, Texas is located on farm road 359 along Interstate Highway 37 in western San Patricio County. History abounds in the area, with once-beaten battlegrounds now lush with farmland, brush, and grass for cattle grazing.
The Nueces River once divided Texas from Mexico. It was a much-disputed boundary, and it wasn’t until the United States / Mexican war that the issue was settled, making the Rio Grande the official boundary. One of the more famous battles between the two countries was fought at old San Patricio, founded by the Irish and located 10 miles south of Mathis. The area was once inhabited by Karankawa and Lipan Apache Indians and was the site of several unsuccessful settlement attempts in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Mathis is named after Thomas H. Mathis who got naming rights after donating 300 acres for a townsite and building a fence enclosing the town. As late as 1906, arriving and departing trains had to be let in and out. Mathis was incorporated in 1939.
The San Antonio, Uvalde, and Gulf Pacific Railroad reached Mathis in 1913, and a chamber of commerce was organized the same year. Mathis grew as a trading center for a large ranching area reaching into Nueces, Jim Wells, Live Oak, and Bee counties. Ranching and cotton and corn farming were the basis of the city’s economy until the early 1930s when vegetable production began on a large scale.
Onions, cabbage, carrots, and spinach were grown as winter crops, and packing sheds were built on both railroads. F. H. Vahlsing, a vegetable broker headquartered in St. Louis, entered the market and in the early 1950s and purchased 7,000 acres of land two miles north of Mathis. He drilled deep wells, installed an irrigation system, and built a vegetable shed and two gins. By the 1960s, the agricultural crops had changed to sorghum, corn, and cotton.
In the 1930s the Nueces River was dammed and Lake Mathis (since renamed Lake Corpus Christi) was formed. Construction of the Wesley Seale Dam in the late 50s raised the level of the lake to where it became desirable for weekend homes.
The area is a winter home for hundreds of Winter Texans from all parts of the state and country as well as Canada. Corpus Christi state park, comprising 350 acres, nestles in a cove protected from the prevailing south-easterly winds by high limestone cliffs. The lake’s 200 miles of shoreline provides areas for numerous camps and parks containing campsites, boat ramps, fishing piers, and RV and mobile home areas. (source)
Families have been enjoying Lake Corpus Christi State Park for more than 80 years. Come for the water sports, varied wildlife, and relaxing atmosphere. Leave refreshed!
On the water, you can swim (no lifeguards), paddle, fish, boat, and water ski. On land, you can camp, hike, bike, geocache, and bird and nature watch. Rent one of our pavilions for your next gathering.
Kona Ice offers shave-ice treats and more. They are open on weekends and some weekdays. You can contact them at RGarza@Kona-Ice.com or (361) 658-6244.
Fish in the 18,256-acre Lake Corpus Christi. Anglers pull in largemouth and white bass; crappie; blue, channel and flathead catfish; and bluegill and redear sunfish. The park has two lighted fishing piers, one of which is 400 feet long and wheelchair accessible. We also have two boat ramps and two fish cleaning shelters. You do not need a fishing license to fish from shore or pier in a state park!
Birding is rich and diverse here. This area is an important stopover for Neotropical migrant birds. We’ve identified more than 200 bird species in the park. Learn more on our Nature page.
Paddle on the lake! Bring your own, or rent a kayak or paddleboard; you can reserve your rental up to one week in advance from the PaddleEZ website.
Smolik‘s Smokehouse owner Mike Smolik continues the family tradition of pit-smoked BBQ. With two locations in Mathis, the Smolik family has been serving up Bar-B-Que since 1918. We also hope to preserve Mathis history at our Freeway location! Specialties Include Bar-B-Q brisket, pork and beef ribs, juicy chicken, Czech sausage, chicken fried steak, hamburgers, rib eye steak, jerky, full bakery, deli and meat market, and catering.
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Once you’ve decided on the type of Kratom right for you, it’s time to decide on how to get it to your front door. We’ve got a few options for shipping.