The City of Mathis was established in 1885. It was and still is an agricultural community. Livestock,
cotton, grain sorghum, and flax are produced in large quantities. The area is a winter home for
hundreds of Winter Texans. At one time the Nueces River was the boundary between Texas and
Mexico. It was a disputed boundary until the war between the United States and Mexico officially
made the Rio Grande the new boundary. One of the more famous battles during this war was
fought at Old San Patricio which is located 10 miles south of Mathis. Old San Patricio was settled in
1828 by the Irish. The name was derived from their patron Saint Patrick (Spanish – San Patricio).
The settlement played an important roll in Texas history and particularly Texas’ War for
Independence. In 1863 the first woman in Texas legally hanged was executed in Old San Patricio.
Other historical points of interest around the lake are: Lagarto which was established in 1858 but
began a steady decline when its leaders rejected the railroad in 1887. Fort Lipantitlan was a
Spanish fort built in 1728. It is located across the Nueces River from Old San Patricio. During the
Texas Revolution era the fort was occupied several different times by the Texans then by the
Mexicans. Fort Casa Blanca located a few miles from Sandia was originally established by Spanish
soldiers for the purpose of protecting the king’s silver mine located nearby. The fort is now in
ruins. Dinero is named for the gold buried there by Santa Anna’s fleeing Mexican army after their
defeat at San Jacinto in 1836.
Lake Lovenskiold was the predecessor to Lake Corpus Christi. It was created in January 1929 by
construction of La Fruita Dam across the Nueces River. In November of the same year the dam
washed out. In 1935 it was rebuilt with funds provided by President Roosevelt’s New Deal. At that
time the name of the reservoir was changed to Lake Corpus Christi. By the 1940’s the reservoir lost
storage capacity from silting. As a result a new dam was constructed in 1958. It was named Wesley
Seale Dam, in honor of Wesley E. Seale, chairman of the Lower Nueces River Water Supply District.
Lake Corpus Christi is a 27 mile long reservoir with a surface area of 21,000 acres, and a capacity of
300,000 acre feet at the spillway elevation of 94 feet above sea level. It boasts 200 miles of shoreline
with a maximum depth of 60 feet. It is located in the Nueces River watershed in San Patricio, Live
Oak, and Jim Wells counties about 20 miles northeast of Corpus Christi. The water quality ranges
from stained to partly clear. It is one of only a few lakes in Texas that private ownership of lake front
property is still available. “See Real Estate”.[Note: This section of our web-page is under construction]
Climate :The July average high is 94 degrees and the January average low is 44 degrees. The first
freeze is usually around December 14 and the last freeze around February 14. September is the
Area Fish includes Bluegill; White Crappie; White Bass; Largemouth Bass; and Blue, Channel &
Vegetation: The lake has isolated beds of water stargrass, American pondweed, coontail, cattail,
rushes, water lettuce, and water hyacinth. The terrain around the lake is abundant with Live Oak
and Mesquite Trees, Purple Sage and numerous farm crops. From March through May, Texas
Bluebonnets and Indian Paint brush adorn the countryside and roadways.
Birds and Wildlife: The lake area has abundant birds and wildlife. Depending on the time of year
some popular birds that can been seen around the lake are mockingbirds, cardinals, hummingbirds,
blue jays, scissor tails, green jays, purple martins, killdeers, quail, dove, turkey, duck, geese, cranes,
roadrunners, owls, Mexican eagles and hawks. Wildlife includes raccoon, deer, bobcat, red fox,
coyote, javelina, squirrels, opossum and a variety of reptiles. Most stay in brushy areas but on
occasion some can be seen in open spaces around the lodge.