After a devastating hurricane in 1919, the people of Corpus Christi faced the stark reality of their vulnerability. It was clear that something had to be done, but the mere will to take precautionary measures did not necessarily lead the way. Instead, two decades would pass before an effective solution was in place. Mary Jo O’Rear, author of Storm over the Bay, returns to tell the story of a city’s long and often frustrating path to protecting itself.
Bulwark Against the Bay reveals the struggle to construct a seawall was not merely an engineering challenge; it was also bound up with the growing popularity of the Ku Klux Klan, local aversion to Roman Catholicism, the emergence of the League of United Latin American Citizens, new efforts on behalf of African American equality, the impact of the Great Depression, support for Franklin Roosevelt, and reactions to the New Deal.
A case study of a community wrestling with itself even as it races with the clock, Bulwark Against the Bay adds to our understanding of urban history, boardroom and backroom politics, and the often harsh realities of geography and climate.