June Melby Benowitz

BAYSIDE, TEXAS. Bayside, on Farm Road 136 twenty-five miles north of Corpus Christi in southeastern Refugio County, stretches more than 3½ miles along the southwestern shore of Copano Bay. The town was founded near the site of the former community of Black Point in 1908 by E. O. Burton and A. H. Danforth, who sought to attract fruit and vegetable growers to the area. Burton and Danforth had part of their property divided into 505 five-acre tracts designed for truck farming. The original townsite consisted of nineteen blocks and one hotel block; land along the shore was set aside for use as public parks. The proprietors also built a bathhouse and a wharf for community use. A well was drilled at the edge of town to provide free water to residents. Burton and Davenport were experienced developers and advertised nationwide. A purchaser of a five-acre tract was to receive a town lot. Although many people bought property with the intention of becoming residents, most of the land was purchased by speculators. The demand for land was overwhelming, and to comply with all the orders for property, Burton and Danforth acquired and subdivided what remained of the abandoned townsite of St. Mary's of Aransas, two miles to the northeast. They annexed this property to Bayside in 1909 and 1910.

A Bayside post office was established in 1909, but residents had to travel by dirt road to Woodsboro, eighteen miles away, or by boat or stage to Rockport, twelve miles across the bay, for shipping and banking transactions. In 1912 Bayside citizens built a wooden schoolhouse. In 1946 the school was consolidated with the Woodsboro Independent School District. The Church of Christ of Bayside built its first church in 1913 with lumber shipped by barge from Rockport. Other groups, including Methodists, Catholics, Baptists, and Presbyterians, also used the building. Bayside acquired electricity in 1926, when Central Power and Light built a highline to the town. In 1919 a hurricane destroyed the local wharves, outbuildings, nearby bridges, and at least three homes. Another hurricane in August 1942 resulted in even greater devastation. (see HURRICANES.)

Of the initial purchasers who came with the intention of settling in Bayside, an estimated twenty to twenty-five remained. Many of those who had bought property for speculative purposes let their taxes go unpaid, and in 1938 hundreds of the tracts and town lots were sold at a tax sale. Bayside had estimated populations of 300 in 1914–15 and seventy-five in 1925. The population subsequently climbed slowly to 400 in 1990, then declined to 360 in 2000. The town was incorporated in 1977. Bayside's economy is largely based on tourism and fishing. Maj. John H. Wood built a magnificent home in Bayside in 1875; in 1983 the house was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and it became a Texas Historic Landmark in 1998.


Katharine E. Henkel and Bobbye Warrick, Sketches of Refugio (1976). Hobart Huson, Refugio: A Comprehensive History of Refugio County from Aboriginal Times to 1953 (2 vols., Woodsboro, Texas: Rooke Foundation, 1953, 1955). History of Refugio County (Dallas: Curtis, 1985).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, June Melby Benowitz, "BAYSIDE, TX," accessed August 24, 2019,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on November 1, 2018. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Texas AlmanacFor more information about towns and counties including physical features, statistics, weather, maps and much more, visit the Town Database on!

Get this week's most popular Handbook of Texas articles delivered straight to your inbox