TAMU-CC History Students Create App That Provides Peek at Past And Present of Downtown Corpus Christi

Published: May 17, 2016

TAMU-CC History Students Create App That Provides Peek at Past And Present of Downtown Corpus Christi

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Many residents and visitors to Corpus Christi may not be aware of the city’s rich and vibrant history, but thanks to an app created by history graduate students at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, the public can experience the Corpus Christi Downtown Walking Tours. The tours showcase an array of locations from the city’s first skyscraper and Heritage Park to several public art spaces and La Retama Park. 

“The four virtual tours are a fun way to explore the unique history of our city,” said Dr. Jen Brown, Assistant Professor of History at TAMU-CC. “Knowing more about the place in which we live remains important to our community – past, present and future. I hope the tours will expand local history knowledge while adding to current downtown revitalization efforts. It's also a great way to get a little exercise.”

The idea for the Corpus Christi Downtown Walking Tours app was developed by Brown as a class assignment for graduate students in the history program. Each tour represents a historical aspect of Corpus Christi that has been selected, researched and designed by groups of graduate students in the Space and Place in Modern America class.

“We feel these tours will help the residents of Corpus Christi,” said Jennie Syamken, who plans to graduate with a Master of Arts in History in 2017. “Corpus Christi has its own unique history not everyone is aware of. It’s important for everyone to understand more about our local past history and see why it is important to revitalize a cultural setting downtown.”

The tours are free to the public and can be accessed through geotourist.com or by downloading the free Geotourist mobile app for Apple and Android.

“This is a great way to provide students novel and innovative experiences working in public and digital history,” said Brown. “This major class project allows students to apply their knowledge from the class and test their historical skills to design the tours.”

The tours also provide advice and recommendations for tourists who prefer to visit historical landmarks for themselves. 

A description of the tours are as follows:

  • Past and Present of Downtown Corpus Christi Tour – This 45-minute walking tour explores the history of several buildings located in downtown Corpus Christi, which experience numerous changes during the 20th  through 21st century. The tour includes buildings preserved through renovations, buildings still in existence and other structures that have been completely transformed. The tour reveals how the modern versions of each historical location have revitalized downtown Corpus Christi. Parking is available on Upper North Broadway and is free after 6 p.m. and on weekends.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight: Corpus Christi Historical Public Art Walking Tour – This 45-minute to one hour tour explores the historical significance of downtown Corpus Christi’s public art starting from the 20th century LULAC organization through the 1960s Chicano Movement, the influences of Selena in the 1990s and to the grassroots movement transforming normal spaces into public art area. Parking between Chaparral and People Streets is recommended for tourists who wish to visit this musically and culturally-enriched area.
  • Harbor Bridge Historical Walking Tour – The Harbor Bridge is one of Corpus Christi’s most recognizable landmarks. For those scared of heights, a virtual tour will fill you in on the Harbor Bridge’s historical significance to the City of Corpus Christi. For tourists opting for the real experience, parking is available at Heritage Park, on the corners of Mesquite and Fitzgerald Streets or Mesquite and Hughes Streets. Don’t forget your camera to snap pictures of breathtaking views.
  • Historic Heritage Park Walking Tour – This half-mile, 45-minute tour features 10 historical Victorian homes that preserve the historic residences and feel of Corpus Christi. The area is wheelchair friendly. Its central location is ideal as the park is situated near the Bayfront Science Park, where museums such as the Texas State Museum of Asian Cultures & Education Center and the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History are located.