GALVESTON

A group of island college students could soon be bringing new life to a site of Galveston history.

Circle K club students at Texas A&M University at Galveston have been picking up trash at Fort San Jacinto for about a year, but club leaders want to take the effort to a higher level, Vice President Clare Shea said.

The fort is on the East End, just north of where Boddeker Road intersects with Seawall Boulevard, but it’s hard to see from the road because it’s overgrown, she said.

“We’re looking for areas to set up picnic tables and set it up for tourists to come fish and hang out and learn,” Shea said.

Shea, a junior, first heard about the fort’s disrepair from the Galveston Kiwanis Club, an international service organization, she said.

Circle K is the college level version of Kiwanis.

Over the past year, the club has picked up more than 20 bags of trash from the site, Shea said.

Built in 1898, Fort San Jacinto was the first headquarters for Galveston’s harbor defenses, according to the Texas State Historical Association. The fort was named in honor of the Texan victory over Mexican troops at San Jacinto and contained three gun batteries and a control station, according to the association.

Now, the land is U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property, spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Williford said.

The university club began cleaning trash last spring, but the area has so much more potential, Circle K President Rick Fuentes said.

“We would like to unveil this because right now it’s not seen,” Fuentes, a freshman, said. “You cannot see it from the road.”

The site is covered with graffiti, much of it lewd, and overgrown, he said.

While plans are still in the conceptual stage, the club wants to place some picnic tables, build walking trails, add a fishing pier and build a kayak launch at the fort, Fuentes said.

“Right now, we’re just working on cleaning it up,” Fuentes said.

But the club could develop a proposal within the next few weeks to find some money for the project, he said.

He estimates the project will cost about $50,000, but the students still have some more assessment to complete, he said.

It’s a great project to pursue with recent efforts to develop the nearby East End Lagoon, Frank Maceo said.

Maceo, a former Galveston city councilman, has been helping the students organize their project proposals.

“People hang out there already,” Maceo said. “We just need to make it safe. I’m pretty excited to see what they come up with.”

The site is an incredible wealth of history in Galveston, Williford said.

“It’s very important to let those students go out there and do that great public service that they’re doing and learn that history of Galveston,” Williford said.

The corps would be interested in hearing any proposals to update the site, but would need to make sure any projects comply with state and federal requirements, he said.

Shea hopes the project will bring out the important history of the fort, though she knows it might be several years before its completion, she said.

“We’d love to get it started and leave a legacy here at our school,” Shea said.

The Circle K students plan to clean more trash from the site 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Shea said.

Keri Heath: 409-683-5241; keri.heath@galvnews.com or on Twitter @HeathKeri.

(7) comments

Kelly Naschke

This is how you make lemonade out of lemons. Fantastic idea. Best of luck to Frank Maceo and the Aggies in cleaning up this historic sight and giving it some useful value to the public.

Don Schlessinger

Fort San Jacinto is probably the last place for visitors to visit and enjoy without being charged.

Thank you Aggies, reminds me of the 12th man spirit A&M is famous for.

AJ LeBlanc

[thumbup]

Bailey Jones

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

George Croix

fort san jacinto

George Croix

Aahhhhh.....
Fat fingered the POST button......

Good project.
Consider using graffiti resistant coatings, for obvious reasons.....
Is there some website or place a donation can be sent to aid the club's efforts?

George Gould

This Galveston coast gun battery installation was built in 1898/1989 for, $39,000 is at the East end of the Seawall Blvd. These photos are of battery Croghan about 3000 ft North down the shoreline from the East end of the seawall. Visible from air or ship channel it was built to protect. Site needs cleanup and protection.

This location is on the City of Galveston's property. Ft. San Jacinto was a United States coastal-defense fortification built and manned in 1898. Site was first reserved by Republic of Texas in 1836. Battery construction was completed in 1901 and was named in honor of Texas victory over the Mexican troops at San Jacinto and became the first headquarters for Galveston`s harbor defense. It contained 3 gun batteries and a direction finding control station for the guns. A 17 ft high seawall at the military reservation fronting the Gulf was constructed between 1918 and 1926.The San Jacinto guns were manned by the 265 th Coast Artillery and 20th Coast Artillery. After WW II it was maintained by the USCG as an electronic repair shop depot . In 1986 it was utilized by the US Corp of Engrs that were dredging the Galveston Ship Channel . [Source : Handbook of Texas]
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