Port of El Copano

Near Bayside, TX, Refugio County

El Copano was established in 1722 by the Spanish to service the missions and military garrisons at Refugio, Goliad, and San Antonio. Wharves, warehouse, and commercial establishments were built as seagoing vessels moved cargo and people. El Copano was the main port of entry for Irish immigrants during the 1820s and 1830s Empresario period. The port was also used during the Texas Revolution and the Civil War.


Bypassed by the railroad and hit by hurricanes, the port eventually declined. Most of the structures at El Copano were constructed of shellcrete masonry and there are two known cemeteries on the site. The 10-foot bluff on which the port was built is eroding into the bay and only a few structures survive. Additionally, no public roads lead to the site and this has added to obscurity of the site. The site is owned by an estate and the heirs have not been able to agree on the maintenance of the site.