From the shores of Galveston to the mountains of El Paso, the oil fields of Beaumont to the cattle ranches of the panhandle, Texas has a lot of ground to cover. Part of the reason the Lone Star State has produced so many postcards is because it’s so darn big. But among a sea of scenic cards featuring the state’s many bridges, courthouses, or famous sites like the Alamo, there were also thousands made to commemorate events that have been lost to our larger memory.
In 1870, the Texas State Legislature responded to ongoing outbreaks of cholera and yellow fever by establishing quarantine stations in each of the state’s coastal towns, like the elevated octagonal building found on a 1914 postcard from Port Isabel, Texas. During the 1950s, San Marcos, Texas, hosted an underwater mermaid theater at an amusement park called Aquarena Springs, which was plastered on souvenir postcards until it closed in the 1990s. Others captured more mundane sights, like a music store in Austin, a kitschy Mexican restaurant in Houston, or a hotel in Dallas, which just happened to be where John F. Kennedy slept the night before he was assassinated.