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'The Castle' provides timeless escape at Lake Corpus Christi

Iconic state park structure dates to 1930s
"The Castle" stand protectively at Lake Corpus Christi State Park
Posted at 12:17 PM, May 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-31 13:18:06-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Lake Corpus Christi State Park is a 356-acre park in San Patricio, Jim Wells and Live Oak counties.

It's located just southwest of Mathis.

And sitting at the park is what many call "The Castle".

This structure is the old CCC Pavilion known affectionately by locals as "The Caste" the castle at Lake Corpus Christi State Park.

It was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's that actually built the entire park back then.

Unfortunately, the beautiful structure is pretty much all that remains of that original park. Because in the 1950's, the city and the Nueces River Authority raised the lake level and submerged many of those old structures from the old park. So, most of the park that you can see today was built in the '60s and '70s.

These bricks are called Caliche Creek blocks and so if you look around the structure the base was actually made with limestone blocks. But at some point, the National Park Service came in and decided they didn't like the look of that as well and so they had them create these Caliche Creek blocks. It's a mixture of caliche and concrete, so around here it's a lot of caliche bits and so that's the resource they used.

In the '50's, they used it as a dance hall. The locals would come out here and do dances on Saturday night. It's been a program interpretive center at one point in its history.

Never a fort, it was originally designed as a piece of the park. And so it has always been a piece of a park here overlooking the lake.

If you'd like to take a tour of the castle, the next one is happening on Saturday June 12 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Park admission is $5. Kids 12 and younger get in free.