Holiday Inn Emerald Beach
Holiday Inn Emerald Beach, just off to south of Downtown Corpus adjacent to McGee beach, this iconic place has withstood hurricanes and well, a LOT of spring break parties. As teens living in the crappy neighborhood of Doss & Antelope near Port & Leopard, we use to go fishing off its lone cement pier.
Watch your step if wet, of all the times we went, sometimes every Sunday morning in summer, only Junior Rabago ever fell in, and that was on the south side of pier so only about 5-6 feet deep, but got his new stolen Garcia rod & reel wet (stolen from HEB on Ayres near theater, this was a $250 reel he lifted up glass with knife an stole, he bought the rod though) but he fell in no problem on side facing their beach & cole Park. The other side, McGee side, was deeper.
My late brother Tommy had something on his rod & reel one morning, still water was as the weathermen used to say on TV in the Fishing Repot "Like Glass!"and his rod bending double so me, Mondo, Robert, Junior, all quickly reeled in so not get tangled, and right next to pier was a HUGE flounder, you fishing folks call them 'saddle bags'. The best fishing if you ever go on this small pier (and we never had issue with security guards!) but best time the fish eating at 4am to about 8am. Lots of speckled trout, some red, some drum, a lot of menhaden and sand trout, all good eating, few gafftops and catfish, throw that crap back in water.
I got invited to several Spring Break parities that were NOT on Padre Island, and whole hotel is basically a party, wandering around drunk party to party meeting people, having beers, some shots, everyone in a great mood, not one time did ever see violence! Imagine that! And most of these hotels did have extra security in form of CCPD, but never any fights or anything.
The rooms in 1970s (I was 18 in 1977) were modest, always clean, smelled good too. Made me want to steal things for my family, damn those towels smell great. But no, just there as a guest NOT thief..... You would think with all the moisture and wet feet from pool, beach the place would smell like a swamp, but they keep this location rather nice, or at least lat time I stayed there (that was not Spring Break ha ha!) it was nice. When fishing on their cement finger pier, we sometimes got ice from ice machine, didn't want to bring attention to ourselves, so would park at McGee beach on Shoreline, walk thru sand, along little wall to pier. But mostly we had own small cooler full of ice, a few sodas, that is it, ice was for the fish.
The fishing in 1970s there was feast or famine, mostly feast...we tended to catch a number of those mentioned above like specks, sand trouts, and every now and then drums and reds. If we caught some piggy perches, toss them on stringer for the dogs back at house, the dogs would eat them whole and raw. Had to pick the leeches out of gills first if any.
Sometimes too one of us would walk back to late brother Tommy's white 67 Chevy, and tie a few menhaden or perch to fishing strings behind car top back bumper. Toss the fish under the car so when Tommy & us came back to go home, not noticeable. We would drive off down Shoreline towards I-37 with fish dragging behind car like a Alabama wedding. Several times people would wave & holler and point. Tommy just keep going. This is decades before cell phones other wise this funny stuff all over internet. I may add seagulls see those and follow cars like they follow shrimp boats, ha ha, never get them...but would follow a 30mph car thinking free meal. And yes, if the fish string broke off, they got meal.
If you must swim at McGee Beach between Holiday Inn & 1st finger pier there used to be (in 1960s/70s) a drain from somewhere that was probably full of sewer, flesh eating bacteria who knows what if drain pipe still there, and you can visibly see the old pipe) but if pipe still there, go swim closer to where Coliseum used to be! This drain was near 1st pier and we often thought it was the drain that ran next to the big SouthWest Bell building on the hill, which might have been the drain that ran under Coke Street 1/2 block south of Leopard where we lived. Never did find out what it went to.
The Holiday Inn has possibly the best entrance driveway of any place in Corpus Christi, better make sure you have good brakes. To the south of it is a piece of property I do not understand why it has never been developed.
Sure, would cut out view of bay, but that condo thing did that next to Cole Park Years ago. And chances are as CC continues to develop, someone will develop that property between Holiday Inn & the townhomes or condos next to Cole Park. In the 1970s, 77 to be exact, our class was challenged to do some sort of small film at W B Ray by Missus Whitmire. Miss Whitmire, walked with a limp, and could be gruff and in your face, but a good thing. If you still out there, thanks for being my teacher & making a difference in my life like so many other Ray teachers did (under my difficult as hell circumstances, no electricity, no hot water, no flushing toilets, living 5 blocks from Miller & using fake address on Naples!). Well, Miss Whitmire asked us to do a small film as we were studying media. Since I was a big UFO buff (still am) I had a number of books checked out from old La Retama library and would read at the house, if at night, yes, I read by Coleman lanterns. So a "UFO theme" was sort of a gimme. This is the short film of the 'W B Ray UFO Abduction' on youtube, it is more cheesier than a bag of Cheetos. Read my little comments with the film also on youtube, I remember several of the people.
Keep in mind this mostly filmed next to Holiday Inn Emerald Beach, was 1977, and modern 8MM little camera, so not great quality!
And will SOMEONE please develop the property next to this place? It has been a overgrown lot (with two L shaped piers) since 1960s!
Photos: #1 Cole Park side of Holiday Inn, the cool and deep drop driveway next to it, should have a Brake Check or Midas there for brake jobs.
Photo #2 Beautiful modern 1970s room. These never smelled dank or like wet dog like some Corpus Christi hotels do due to sheer wet foot traffic.
Photo #3 Holiday Inn in 1970s, note death drop driveway, the cement pier clearly visible, and rare shot of where Shoreline turns to Ocean Drive (or at least *I* thought it did! )
Photo #4 close up same view no one ever swam on this side of the little pier, other side had man made beach, and was a super clean beach, we played volleyball here with tourists all the time! Why not they had free beer!
Photo #5. This is MY city ya'll. There is my 'like glass' water, my little fishing pier, my old McGee beach...but like me...something missing. Oh the Coleseum sadly. Another story for another day.....