44 THE COASTAL BEND MAGAZINE • January/February 2018 TheCoastalBend.com Should it cost a million dollars to own a home on an island that is hurricane proof? Maybe. I don’t know. But if that is the standard in Florida since the 1990’s for all new and retrofit construction, it’s no longer a “feature.” It’s just how it’s done now, and not every island home in Florida costs $1 million. Think of how a 1977 Mercedes- Benz had airbags and anti-lock brakes, a decade before the first American car did, and two decades before those safety features were required by law for all vehicles. First buyers paid the price for having the best, and safest—first. No difference here. Just like airbags and antilock brakes, and even high construction standards in Florida, the industry will not universally do it on its own. Some builders will raise their waterfront construction standards in Texas, in response to demand from buyers who do not want their own Harvey experience again, or at all. However, the building industry will not fully evolve until Texas passes a law requiring the Florida building standard. Until then, those standards will remain a “feature,”—a.k.a. “a luxury.” T he first public record of the idea for a sea- wall on the Corpus Christi Bayfront was published in an 1890 editorial in the Cor- pus Christi Caller, and it was advanced by one of the city’s founders, Nueces County Judge Walter Timon in 1909, but it fizzled. After the devastating hurricanes of 1916 and 1919, the lat- ter of which killed hundreds of Corpus Christians, and saw the new 1914 Courthouse turned into a make-shift, mass morgue after a ten-foot storm surge swept the city, the idea of a seawall finally began to gain support. Nine years later, the City of Corpus Christi hired famed sculptor and archi- tect, Gutzon Borglum, the man who created Mount Rush- more, to design a seawall along the bay front. His plan included a 32-foot statue of Jesus Christ, an homage to the city’s name, placed inside the rock jetties that protect the marina. City planners and citizens didn’t care for the plan, especially the statue, so it was put off for another de- cade. Construction finally began in 1938 and the seawall was completed in 1941. Fifty years after the idea was first presented, and twenty-two years after almost a thousand people were killed in a hurricane, most of whom drowned, Corpus Christi completed its fourteen-foot storm surge barrier. About a dozen or so photos of the mass destruction that Hurricane Harvey delivered to Port Aransas are pub- lished on these pages, but there are hundreds and hundreds more, including from North Padre Island. Sadly, we did not even make it to Rockport, Aransas Pass or Ingleside.