South Padre Island’s Journey to National Seashore
South Padre Island, which is 113 miles in length, is the jewel of South Texas. It was originally granted to Nicolas Balli in 1759 by King Carlos III of Spain. The land was passed on to his grandson, Padre Jose Nicolas Balli, of which the island is named after. But the story of how it became a National Seashore, is an often forgotten in local history; this is that story.
With Senator Ralph Yarborough, D-Texas, sponsoring the bill in the Senate, and Representative Joe Kilgore and John Young, both Texas Democrats guiding the bill through the house, the bill successfully makes it to the president’s desk.
President John F. Kennedy signed into law the bill that created the South Padre Island National Seashore on September 28, 1962.