By Carl Phillips - Island Breeze
In 1554 a fleet of Spanish ships loaded with gold and other treasure encountered a Gulf of Mexico hurricane and shipwrecked just off the sandy shores of South Padre Island.
What happened to the crew and passengers on those ships makes a fascinating story all by itself, but their trek down the Island searching for what passed as civilization in those days is just one portion of the complete historical record.
On Thursday at 6 p.m., the Museums of Port Isabel, which displays many of the artifacts from those unfortunate ships, will present Steve Hathcock telling the story in its entirety.
Hathcock is the author of three books about the history of the area: "Real History," published in 1995; "Looking Back," 1999; and "Behind the Third Dune," 2001. He is working on his fourth book, "Old Indo, Last of the Karawankas, and Other Tales," which he hopes to complete this year.
A student of the history of the area for more than 30 years, he is chairman of the South Padre Island Historical Preservation Committee, a founding member of the South Padre Island Historical Foundation and a board member of the Cameron County Historical Commission.
Over the years he has gathered information, photos and artifacts in the area. His Preservation Committee has also compiled a catalog of old buildings on the Island.