Kingsville - a living legend
Kleberg County was created from Nueces County, February 27, 1913 and then organized June 27, 1913, being named
in honor of Robert Justus Kleberg, a pioneer German settler in Texas and veteran of San Jacinto. Kingsville had been established the fourth of July 1904, a raw townsite in the middle of the prairie, situated along the St. Louis, Brownsville, and Mexico Railway route. The land had been donated by Mrs. Henrietta King, widow of Captain King, the founder of the King Ranch.
Today Kingsville is the center for agriculture, oil and banking. It is also home to the Naval Air Station Kingsville and Texas A&M University-Kingsville. People in Kingsville pride themselves on offering Southern hospitality with a southwestern flair. It is a family oriented community with special emphasis on children. While Kingsville’s focus is on family, it still makes time to nurture a self-sustaining business community. It has a long history of attracting industry and provides the resources necessary for success. With the arrival of the railroad in 1904, Kingsville became connected to the world, opening the door to industry and fostering a pro-business attitude that has continued to the present day. Since the day Henrietta King donated the first piece of land for a school in Kingsville, education has been a driving force in the community. As a result, educational opportunities abound in Kingsville and Kleberg county including a four-year comprehensive university and a two-year community college.
Tourism has developed into a thriving part of the economy of Kingsville. The historical significance of the area, the proximity to the coast, as well as the year-round moderate climate draw many visitors, some staying for extended periods, making Kingsville their winter home. Many events during the year such as La Posada de Kingsville, the South Texas Ranching Heritage Festival, Kleberg County Livestock Show, the International Young Performers Musical Competition and the Wildlife/Birding Festival are held to inform and educate their visitors. Other events include Texas A&M University Kingsville’s Jazz Festival, Brush Country Art Round Up Show, rodeo events and collegiate sporting events.
Many beautiful historical structures can be found in the city. The downtown area has been designated as a historical district; many buildings having been restored to their authentic architecture and contain hand-crafted products, gifts, hobby items, clothing and leather goods with a South Texas flair. The cornerstone of the shopping district is the King Ranch Saddle Shop, located in the J.B. Ragland Mercantile Co. building which is listed on the National Register of
Historic Places and is recipient of the prestigious Texas Downtown Association Award for Best Rehabilitation Project and the Best Store Interior. The saddle shop still makes saddles for the cowboys and is known for its high quality of luggage, purses, and hunting gear.
With almost a million acres of habitat, it is no wonder that a variety of birding and wildlife species are abundant. The Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail sites and tours on the King Ranch yield an incredible number of sightings, including many tropical and migratory species. More than twenty-five various sanctuaries are located throughout Kingsville and Kleberg County.
NAS Kingsville Naval Air Station and Texas A&M University-Kingsville bring many people to the community, some from
many places throughout the world. Other points of interest include J.E. Conner Museum, which houses the Graves Peeler Hall of Horns, King Ranch Museum and archives which are housed in the Henrietta Memorial Center and the 1904 Train Depot Museum that offers history of rail to South Texas and railroad memorabilia.
The King Ranch, with headquarters just west of Kingsville on State Highway 141, is one of the prime destinations of many visitors to the area. At King Ranch Visitor's Headquarters, you may take a closer look at the area's cowboy roots. Several tours are offered, historical, bird-watching and other nature tours. Many of the ranch's historic buildings and landmarks remain in existence. The Kaufer-Hubert Park on Baffin Bay near Riviera is a very popular spot for both residents and tourists. Boat ramps and a fishing pier are available, as well as public restrooms, a fitness course, playground, several picnic areas and a two-story bay observation tower designed with bird enthusiasts in mind.
Baffin Bay is known for its great salt water fishing, whether by boat, wade fishing or fishing from the piers, the angler can be sure of success and excitement when he wets his line.
The L.E. Ramey Golf Course is a favorite spot for many area residents and Winter Texans. Open year-round and includes a tennis court. A visit to Kingsville is a step into the home of the authentic ‘old West’ and beginnings of cowboys and vaqueros as we have come to know them. Kingsville offers a distinctive Texas setting . . .
come live the legend.