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Bay View Hotel
Originally Matagorda County Courthouse

Matagorda, Texas


An Old Land Mark.

Bay View Hotel Which Was Court House Over Half Century Being Moved.


To make room on the town’s spacious and attractive public square, a double block at the head of Bay Avenue, the old courthouse is being moved to the Bay front.

When the county seat was moved to Bay City, Mr. G. B. Culver purchased the building and added the wing on the east, arranging with the Commissioners Court to occupy the ground until the town wanted it for a public building. That time having arrived, as indicated by the order of the public school trustees for an election on June 30th on an issue of bonds to build a brick schoolhouse, Mr. Culver contracted with Capt. J. W. White to move the building to the lot south of W. J. Phillips’ store, and fronting the bay. The main building will go first, is nearly on wheels and will be ready for the start some time next week.

For the most of the past ten years the building has been run as the Bay View Hotel, and it has seen prosperous days in that line during the Oil boom when two to a bed, two and three beds in a room and cots all along the spacious galleries was supplemented with pallets all over the yard.

For more than half a century the building was the temple of justice for one of the original counties of the state. It was the courthouse in 1851, Mr. Dunbar says, when he landed here from the old country. Judge Burkhart says that he remembers when he was about 14 years old court was held in the custom house on corner opposite the Stewart store (1845) and the courthouse was erected about 1849, making the building 66 years old. The courthouse was one of the five buildings which withstood the storm of 1875.

Messrs. Draughn, foreman, Benedict, Smith and Manghum have charge of the moving.

[We will put a copy of this issue of the News in the cornerstone—also of the school building.

Matagorda News, June 13, 1913

The Bay View Hotel building, after a week's work on the part of Capt. White's force, was yesterday placed on trucks and started on its way down College Ave. to the new location on the bay front, where there will be a still better Bay View. Mr. Culver contemplates some repairs and improvements in appearance and making it a good proposition for some good hotel man. A good pleasure and resort business could be built up here at Matagorda, for certainly there is no more desirable location.

Matagorda News, June 20, 1913

Mr. J. F. Williams Hurt

In an accident yesterday at the winch which winds the big cable moving the Bay View house, Mr. J. F. Williams suffered very painful injuries for awhile feared serious. It seems Mr. Lem Blair who was managing the machine and the team was stopping it on signal from the foreman at the house and thinking he had about all the slack out of it, pulled the bolt which released the team. But there was much power left, and upon the release of the bolt the big wooden lever made two or three revolutions, throwing Mr. Blair against a pile of dirt, and Mr. Williams, who from the spectators had stepped forward to help  Mr. Blair hold the lever, was thrown violently against the ground some 25 feet away. His forehead striking the ground, he received a severe blow which rendered him unconscious for a while. Mr. Williams soon recovered and  this morning is still improving, though very much bruised.

One of the mules receiving the first and full force of the blow on a hip was badly injured. Work is progressing this morning, the house having been already moved about sixty feet.

Matagorda News, June 27, 1913

The Chas. N. Partains have moved their cafe over to the old Bay View building that was formerly the Matagorda County court house.

Matagorda County Tribune, August 29, 1937

The triangulation marker, now located on the east-side playground at the Matagorda School, was placed in 1906 in the center of the cupola of the Bay View Hotel in Matagorda. The building was the Matagorda County courthouse until the county seat was moved to Bay City in 1894.

Triangulation on the Coast of Texas, From Sabine Pass to Corpus Christi Bay by Charles A. Mourhess, Special Publication No. 17, U. S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, 1913, page 67

Geodetic Survey Marker that is on the east playground of the Matagorda Elementary School which was originally
in the cupola of the Bay View Hotel when it was on the school site.

The marker is imbedded in this base made of shellcrete and reinforced with concrete.

A closer view of the shellcrete base.



Copyright 2011 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
All rights reserved

May 15, 2011
Aug. 23, 2013