Seadrift turns 100

By by Dianna Wray - DWRAY@VICAD.COM
Nov. 29, 2012 at 5:29 a.m.
Updated Nov. 30, 2012 at 5:30 a.m.

Seadrift dates  to 1840, when it was settled by German immigrants. Several old buildings in the downtown area have murals showing rural life in the 1800s.

Seadrift dates to 1840, when it was settled by German immigrants. Several old buildings in the downtown area have murals showing rural life in the 1800s.   Frank Tilley for The Victoria Advocate

SEADRIFT - The people of Seadrift have lived out their lives for generations in this little community nestled on the shore of San Antonio Bay.

On Saturday, the town will hit an important milestone, celebrating the centennial anniversary of the town's incorporation.

"It's important to acknowledge the past," said Janie Waghorne, a Seadrift Centennial committee member.

Waghorne and the other committee members have been preparing for the centennial celebration for more than a year.

"A 100-year celebration, whether it's for a human or a city, is an important achievement, so we're celebrating it," Waghorne said. "After all, I'm not going to be around for the next one."

Seadrift is a community of individuals, Waghorne said.

The first settlers had to be independent-minded, the kind of people who were self-reliant and could think for themselves, a trait that has stayed with their descendants, she acknowledged.

"It's a very independent little town," she said. "We're slow to change."

The community of Seadrift was settled in the 1840s when immigrants arriving in the port town of Indianola chose to settle nearby on the flat coastal plain.

They farmed and ranched and fished for a living, and the community grew slowly over the following decades.

Around the turn of the century, a man named A.D. Powers began promoting the place, urging people to purchase the cheap land that he assured them was good for farming and ranching.

Seadrift grew, and the community became an incorporated city Dec. 27, 1912.

Fishing was a source of revenue for the townspeople for years, and their reliance on the bays only grew as shrimping, oystering and crabbing became profitable endeavors.

"It's a fishing village," longtime resident Kenneth Reese said. "It's always been a fishing village, and the people in that village will do anything for you."

The bay front used to be a bustling place during oystering and shrimping season, but that has changed in recent decades, as regulations and cost have pushed shrimpers, fishermen and oystermen out of the business.

But even as they've lost their livelihood, people who love the community have stayed there, putting up unusual yard statues, living in brightly colored houses, knowing everything about each other and keeping what they know quiet when outsiders come around.

"They're just a close-knit people," Reese said.

Residents have found work at the plants, in other towns, but they stay because of the way of life, Waghorne said.

"We just have a different perspective of the way we want to live life. It makes us unique," she said.

On Saturday, the people of Seadrift will celebrate the history of their town and the 100th anniversary of its founding with the Seadrift Centennial celebration.

The event will feature live music, a parade, historical displays, a historical tour of the town and fireworks.

The event gives residents a chance to stop and remember the history of their town and the people who built it.

"It's important to remember your past and your history. History is what life is, and life is stories, and it's important to preserve those stories for the future," Waghorne said.



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