Thursday, January 10, 2019

Fulton Mansion on Aransas Bay in Texas open during Hurricane Harvey restoration

Fulton Mansion in Rockport, Texas (Julianne G. Crane)
This article was first posted in February 2017, prior to Hurricane Harvey that same summer. This is an update on the historic Fulton Mansion's amazing recovery.

Fulton Mansion, an imposing Victorian "iconic coastal mansion" in Rockport, Texas, has survived eight hurricanes--the most recent being Hurricane Harvey on August 25, 2017. The catastrophic storm resulted in the complete destruction of the mansion's flat metal roof and chimneys, leaving "major water damage to interior collections, carpets, and plaster walls."

Hard hat tours available. (Fulton Museum)
However, within three months, the grounds were "cleaned up, new fencing installed, oak trees trimmed, and the dead palm trees removed." With help from the Friends of Fulton Mansion, the Education and History Center reopened in November 2017. Thanks to many generous donations, and restoration efforts, the Fulton Mansion re-opened for self-guided "hard hat tours" in March 2018.

"The home is now open for regular visiting hours six days a week. Visitors can view posters with information about each room and a photo of what the room would look like with the furnishings. The posters also point out some of the hurricane damage," according to mansion officials.

This historic site is located about 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi. It is a perfect RV Short Stop destination for Winter Texan snowbirds or for Texas families on a weekend trip to the Gulf Coast.

View from Fulton Mansion (Julianne G. Crane)
Originally called "Oakhurst" because "majestic live oak trees surrounded the property on three sides," it sits just across the road from Aransas Bay. When it was completed in 1877, there was nothing like it on the Texas Coastal Plains.

It was built for George Ware Fulton (1810-1893) and his wife, Harriet Smith Fulton (1823-1910) who were married in 1840.  The 2.7-acre site is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The historical significance of this bayside residence lies in its noteworthy architectural style, a classic example of French Second Empire; its unique plank wall and shell aggregate concrete basement; characteristic mansard roof construction methods; and its advanced mechanical systems — which featured gas lighting, central heating and indoor plumbing with hot and cold running water.

This state historical site is part of the Texas Tropical Trail Region that provides information on "the natural, cultural, and historical treasures in the unique and vibrant southern tip of Texas."

During construction days, visitors are welcome to visit the Education and History Center where there is an exhibit with background information on the Fulton family. Allow about an hour for the self-guided tour. Also available are guided architecture tours of the exterior of the mansion. Admission is free, but donations are "greatly appreciated."

RVer Jimmy Smith in Education Center
If you go: 

Fulton Mansion
317 Fulton Beach Road
Rockport, TX 78382
Phone: 361-729-0386

Tickets: Free.
Education Center: Tuesday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday: 1-4 p.m.

From State Highway 35, turn east on Henderson Street and travel approximately 7 blocks.
GPS: N28° 3' 25" W97° 2' 7.4"

-- Julianne G. Crane 
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Photos: (from the top) Fulton Mansion (Julianne G. Crane). View of damage from Hurricane Harvey in 2017 (Fulton Mansion).  View from Fulton Mansion of Aransas Bay (Julianne G. Crane).  RVer Jimmy Smith reading about the history of the Fulton Mansion. (Julianne G. Crane)


  1. Are all levels toured and is it accessible by wheelchair.

  2. According to the Fulton Museum:
    "The Education and History Center is fully accessible. All visitors should use caution when exploring the outside of the house and gardens due to uneven paving stones and sidewalks. If you need assistance accessing the mansion’s elevated entry, please call in advance so there will be no delay in your enjoyment of the home." 361-729-0386