Updated: Jan 17
Rockport Texas. has always been known for its great fishing, coastal climate, bird watching, and world-class beaches. It is also famous for its large iconic Big Blue Crab structures that have watched over its shorelines for the last few decades. This article will explain its history and all about the current structure today.
History of the Big Blue Crab of Rockport, Texas
The famous big blue crab has been a popular tourist attraction in Aransas County since 1957. It all started when Sal Silverman, who owned the Del Mar Grill restaurant with his wife Dorothy, had an idea to build something eye-catching on top of it. They both wanted to create something special that would attract people to the restaurant and give them the edge over other restaurants nearby. Dorothy used locally caught blue crabs to make her signature delicious crab cakes. Not only would people come from far and wide seeking out this legendary dish, but people would stop by just to get a picture taken with the famous giant blue crab.
The crab was 18 X 25 feet wide and 25 feet deep from claw to fin. A company in Houston, which built floats for parades, had it constructed from rebar, fiberglass, chicken wire, and Paper Mache. In 1965, the Grill closed. The next year, the crab was purchased by the Chamber of Commerce to be used in parades and displays to promote the Rockport area. In October 1966, the crab was moved to Navigation Park, which is now Veterans Memorial Park. In 1969, a retired painter from Indiana, Ed Warner, repainted the crab. Tourists and locals loved to have their photographs taken in front of the crab.
The first big crab was finally damaged beyond repair.
The crab survived Hurricane Beulah in 1967 and Hurricane Celia in 1970. But eventually, time took its toll and the crab deteriorated. It was removed and later buried out by Palm Harbor. In the summer of 2004, a committee was formed to “Bring Back the Big Blue Crab.” Money was raised at area events by selling crab-themed merchandise.
There have been talks about having this original crab dug up and having a team of archeologists try and gather some information about the dimensions and colors to have a new one rebuilt as well.
Big Blue Crab #2 was Created
In 2012, local artist David Allgood worked day and night on building a new crab. That August, the crab was installed on Little Bay to the west of the Beach entrance. The crab was one foot bigger than the original one which sat on top of the Del Mar Grill. Folks could once again have their photo taken in front of this famous Rockport icon.
The Iconic structure was huge! People would travel to the area just to look at the crab and to take its picture. Many say this was the greatest of the 3 crabs.
Crab #2 Destroyed by Hurricane Harvey
Everything in Rockport was thriving and going well for the crab until August 2017 when the area was hit by a devastating category 4 hurricane. Its eyewall went right over Rockport bringing winds well over 150mph. The Great Big Blue Crab could not sustain the force.
The next morning when officials were out assessing the damage this image emerged and everyone knew that the Great Giant Blue Crab was damaged beyond repair.
Big Blue Crab #3 begins.
As the community got well on its way to restoring and cleaning up the damage left from the storm a group was formed and begin plans to have a new Crab Built and set in the place of the old one. The new Crab would need to be built to be able to withstand not only the ravages of time but also to sustain any future storms that may impact the area. Proposals for artists were sent out and a renowned artist named Joe Barrington was selected for the project.
In November 2017, Winery on the Bay held a fundraiser and silent auction to raise funds for crab #3. About $5,000 was raised at this event. More money was raised selling T-shirts and Crab Merchandise at the Winery. Don Adoff and many others have spearheaded the efforts. Fabrication Began.
The crab arrived in Aransas County on Tuesday, July 27th and installation began on July 28th, 2021. There still needs to be work on the brickwork and the landscaping phase. The world will be able to enjoy the crab from now on. Aransas County residents and all of our visitors miss the crab. The Big Blue Crab will be the centerpiece of our waterfront development. It’s going to be an amazing place for people to come and enjoy themselves
Check out the Video of the Crab's Arrival
The Rockport Fulton big blue crab has finally been installed and completed! The project took 4 years to complete, spanning a concerted effort of many dedicated volunteers. Joe Barrington is the award-winning artist that designed this new landmark sculpture lovingly called “The Big Blue Crab.”
The New crab weighs around 6000 pounds, is made of stainless steel, and has a powder coat that is designed to last for at least 10 years.
The landmark sculpture stands at a towering height and symbolizes protection for all those who visit.
The Leadership of Keep Aransas County Beautiful, The Aransas County Navigation District, The City of Rockport, Aransas County, and all of those who kept hope alive after Hurricane Harvey. The Big Blue Crab will be a pillar of your love for our community and the people who love RockportFulton.
We would like to recognize the dedicated leaders who brought this project to life.
the wonderful artist Joe Barrington for taking on this project along with Debbie Hirsch Parker, Rosemary White, Neli Spurrell, Don Aboff, John Aquilino, D’Ann Janysek Williams, Judy Sutterfield, Amanda Sutterfield Wilson, Donna Gregory, Mary Brydon Aquilino, Mark Waters, Malcolm Dieckow, Kerry Mauch Goodall, Sue Bonnar, and Diana Harrington.
The restoration efforts continue today
The Big Blue Crab #3 structure is now finished. The sponsor's bricks have been installed. Benches have also been added along with a plaque showing the crab's history as well as some local oyster shells under the new crab.
This big blue crab is located between the Rockport Harbor Festival Grounds and the Little Bay Shoreline about 1 min walking distance of the Rockport Beach Park entrance in Rockport, Texas
Here are the directions for the Big Blue Crab Structure
Thank you for reading. We hope you found it insightful and enjoyable to learn about the Big Blue Crab of Rockport Texas. Please be sure to visit our Home page RockportFulton.com for more stories and information
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