CityOf.com shares some fun facts and trivia about the Sparkling City by the Sea.
By: Sylvia Slezak
How much do you know about the Coastal Bend? How many celebrities can you name who were born in the Sparkling City by the Sea? We’ve compiled a list of interesting facts for you to compare with the ones you already knew.
Historical beginnings and record “firsts”:
• In 1519, the Roman Catholic Feast of Corpus Christi marked the discovery of a lush semi tropical bay by Spanish explorer Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda. He therefore named the bay, “Corpus Christi,” which translates to “Body of Christ” from Latin.
• City was founded in the 1830s as a trading post and commenced with growth as a port in the 1920s.
• The King Ranch, founded in 1853, is the largest ranch in Texas, covering more than 825,000 acres, with more than 35,000 cattle, 200 quarter horses and more than 350 species of birds. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961.
• According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Corpus Christi has a total area of 460.20 square miles of which 154.6 square miles is land while water covers 305.6 square miles.
• Padre Island, the largest Barrier Island in the nation, is only 25 minutes from downtown Corpus Christi.
• The fourth deadliest hurricane of the 20th century hit Corpus Christi in September 1919. The death toll was between 600 and 1,000 people, and only three structures survived.
• The city has one of the highest average wind speeds of coastal cities in North America, with wind speeds often reaching to 25 miles per hour and gusts reaching more than 35 miles per hour.
• According to the National Weather Service Office in Corpus Christi, the city received 4.4 inches of snow on Dec. 24 and 25, 2004 – more snow than had fallen in all previous years combined. Because of the uniqueness of the event, three separate books were made documenting the event: “Snow,” “More Snow” and “More Snow for Kids.” All of these feature the theme of the South Texas Christmas miracle.
• Whataburger, the most popular Texas burger chain, was founded in Corpus Christi and spread across Texas like wildfire. The original two-story location, opened in 1950, is still open today, serving juicy burgers at 121 Shoreline Blvd.
• The city is home of Midget Ocean Racing Fleet, also known as MORF, which promotes sailing in the Coastal Bend. The Wednesday night races held by MORF are the longest-running weekly races in the United States.
Celebrities born in Corpus Christi:
• Kevin Abstract (musician, rapper, singer-songwriter)
• Roger Creager (country music singer-songwriter)
Attended Tuloso-Midway High School
• Farrah Fawcett (actress and artist)
Graduated from W.B. Ray High School
• Ernestine Jackson (actress and singer)
• Jeremy Jordan (actor and Broadway performer who currently plays Winslow “Winn” Schott Jr. on the CBS/CW DC Comics-based superhero drama series “Supergirl”)
• Ashley Kidd (world champion wakesurfer; as of July 2016, she was ranked No. 1 in the women’s professional division of the Competitive Wake Surf Association world rankings)
• Bobby and Terry Labonte (NASCAR champions – one of only two pairs of brothers to have both won the Sprint Cup championships)
• Christopher Layton, aka “Whipper” (musician-drummer who acquired his first drum set at age 13)
Graduated from W.B. Ray High School, where he was part of the school band, and attended Del Mar College
• Eva Longoria (actress, producer and director)
Worked at a Wendy’s restaurant part-time for three years while attending high school, received her B.S. in Kinesiology at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and won the title of Miss Corpus Christi USA in 1998; returned to Corpus Christi in 2008 for the day to work behind the counter at Wendy’s and serve up hamburgers, fries and shakes once again
• Victoria Moroles (actress and dancer)
Raised in Rockport, Texas
• Larry Norman (musician, singer, songwriter, record label owner and record producer who is considered one of the pioneers of Christian rock music and has released more than 100 albums)
• William Norris “Billy” Powell (musician and songwriter)
• Jessie Pavelka (fitness expert and television host)
Attended Calallen High School from 1997 to 2001
• Selena Quintanilla Perez (the “Queen of Tejano Music” pop legend, singer and songwriter)
Raised and suffered a tragic death in Corpus Christi; the Selena Museum pays tribute to the iconic singer, and a bronze statue of Selena looks out over Corpus Christi Bay at the downtown seawall
• Pepe Serna (actor)
• Lori Singer (actress and Julliard-trained cellist)
Filming in Corpus Christi:
1979 – “Tilt,” with Brooke Shields and Charles Durning
1985 – “The Legend of Billie Jean,” with Christian Slater and Helen Slater
1985 – “Target,” with Gene Hackman and Matt Dillon
1991 – “Knight Rider 2000,” with David Hasselhoff and Edward Mulhare
1997 – “Selena,” with Jennifer Lopez
2001 – “Pearl Harbor,” with Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Alec Baldwin (a portion was filmed on the USS Lexington)
2005 – “The King,” with Gael Garcia Bernal
2009 – “The Open Road,” with Justin Timberlake and Jeff Bridges
Sylvia Slezak is the director of marketing and social media at CityOf.com. For more information on where to relax, have fun and enjoy the hidden treasures of the Coastal Bend, visit us online at www.cityof.com/corpuschristi to explore the featured premier restaurants, attractions and local events.