Visit the Matagorda County Museum and discover how a French ship almost changed the course of Texas history!
- Well, if you're from Bay City, you probably recognize this as the Old Bay City Post Office. Well, in 1990, it became the Matagorda County Museum. And five years after that, an unexpected discovery gave this place international recognition.
- Matagorda County is a very important county as far as Texas history. So many people don't realize that, even so many of our local people. We get people in who go, I didn't know that! You know.
- The grandkids have been like, oh, is it our museum, gran? You know, is it ours? Well, it's been very cool.
- La Belle was the ship that Louis XIV had commissioned for Lasalle, the French Explorer. He was actually headed to the mouth of the Mississippi River. He wound up in Matagorda Bay in 1685. A storm-- here we call it a blue norther-- came through and sunk the ship.
The shipwreck itself was discovered in 1995. The hull itself was saved because it had sunk into the mud, which preserved it. It was a treasure, a historical treasure. Over a million artifacts, everything they needed to settle in this area.
If the French had been successful, Texas would be a whole different state at this point. This story has literally rewritten some of our history books.
- Especially being, you know, a younger college student, you kind of think, ah, it's just history, you know? No big deal. But what Texas is to you, that's really the big.