Bob Hall Pier is located in Nueces County on the north end of Padre Island on the Gulf of Mexico and is part of the 374-acre Padre Balli Park. The lighted structure is open twenty-four hours a day. The pier was built in 1950 and named after the popular Precinct 1 Nueces County Commissioner Robert Reid Hall. It was initially built of wood and was 300 feet long and cost $17,300. Two years after its completion, its popularity with Nueces County residents resulted in another 300-foot section being added to the pier at an additional cost of $26,651. In September 1960 a freak accident happened to the beloved pier. A runaway forty-two-foot shrimp boat named Big Tinker ran into the pier and nearly sliced it in half. An insurance settlement of $12,000 with the county allowed the damaged middle section of the pier structure to quickly be repaired. The pier, however, soon faced a major hurricane. In September 1961 Hurricane Carla utterly destroyed Bob Hall Pier. Within a year it was swiftly rebuilt and even extended to a new length of 1,200 feet. Unfortunately, only a few years later another hurricane was soon to wreak its havoc on Bob Hall.
In September 1967 Hurricane Beulah destroyed half of the pier. The first 600-foot section of the structure was rebuilt, but the last 600-foot section was not. Instead a 127-foot section was added to the end of the pier thus shrinking the once 1,200-foot wooden structure to just 727 feet. Bob Hall was not safe for long. In August 1970 Hurricane Celia damaged the pier but only mildly. It was soon fixed and back in operation for the citizens who visited in greater numbers than ever before. In the spring of 1979 the last section (150 feet) of the pier was closed by the county because of wave damage which had separated the top of the pier from the pilings, thus making the end section unsafe for public usage. After repairs, the pier was 840 feet long. Bob Hall Pier’s popularity was apparent by attendance figures gathered in the summer of 1980 over a fifty-six-day period. Those statistics showed that 186,000 people used the pier that summer. Once again a hurricane was to change the face of Bob Hall in a major way.
Hurricane Allen in August 1980 totally destroyed the 840-foot wooden pier just as Carla had done twenty years earlier. Damage to the pier was estimated at $627,000. Planning soon began for the construction of a new 1,200-foot concrete pier made up of concrete pilings and a total of 1,250 pre-fabricated concrete deck slabs that could be removed and stored on shore in the event of a deadly future storm. The new pier would be 6 feet higher, able to withstand 26-foot waves, would be 15 feet wide, include a T-head 146 feet long and 19 feet wide at the end of the structure, and cost nearly $1.7 million. It would continue to have a concession stand at its entrance. Plans were also made to reinvent Horace Caldwell Pier in Port Aransas. Both were built as identical piers. The combined cement piers cost $2.7 million. For Bob Hall, FEMA provided $368,000 towards the cost, and a Federal Commerce Department Coastal Energy Impact Program Grant of $1.25 million paid the rest of the cost.
The new piers were scheduled to open in September 1981, but delays pushed the date back to February 1982 and finally to the summer of 1983. On May 25, 1983, the “new” concrete version of Bob Hall Pier officially re-opened. The only incident marring the otherwise smooth dedication ceremonies was someone catching a thirty-pound redfish.
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Corpus Christi Caller, April 4, 1979; April 30, 1980; August 27, 1980; November 15, 1980; April 24, 1981; May 24, 1981; December 6, 1982; August 19, 1982. Vertical Files, La Retama Central Library, Corpus Christi, Texas (Parks-Padre Balli-Pier).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Bob Hall Pier,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 28, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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