The Champion Building, built in 1899 as a dry goods store and residence by Charles Champion, now houses the Port Isabel Historical Museum, a state-of-the-art facility that has two exhibit levels, gift shop and one of the largest collections of Mexican artifacts from the U.S.-Mexican War. The facade features the famous ‘fish mural’ painted in 1906 by a local fisherman.
The Champion Building was one of the first mercantile business to serve the citizens of Point Isabel at the time. The store had its own Champion coins that were used locally and regionally to purchase goods at the facility. The Champion Family lived upstairs.
In 1995, the City purchased the property through a TXDOT grant. In 1996, the building was used to establish the Port Isabel Historical Museum. In that same year, the “fish” mural was restored.
This year, with funding from the Port Isabel Economic Development Corporation and the City’s Capital Improvement budget, the water tower was restored and building repainted. Currently the portico is being restored to its original 1899 design and the mural will be restored after the completion of the porch.
Mayor Joe E. Vega, stated “We are so excited and pleased that this year Port Isabel’s historical “gems” are being restored to their original splendor which include the Champion Building built in 1899, the Lighthouse which was built in 1852 and the restoration of the Keepers Cottage, a replica of the original, both being restored by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and of course the historic Yacht Club which was built in 1926 and being restored with funding from the EDA. We take pride in our past which helps us in guiding us to the future.”
The total restoration of the Champion Building will take approximately three months to complete. For more information, call 956 943-2682.