WARD ISLAND

ORIGINALLY CALLED ISLAND 'A', THIS 258-ACRE PENINSULA WAS LATER NAMED FOR LAND DEVELOPER JOHN C. WARD WHO OBTAINED THE ISLAND IN 1892. PLANS TO DEVELOP THE ISLAND INTO AN EXCLUSIVE RESORT COMMUNITY WERE CRUSHED BY A DEPRESSION IN 1893, BUT WARD ISLAND BECAME A POPULAR HUNTING AND FISHING SITE. W. E. JAMES AND HERMAN ANDERSON PURCHASED THE LAND IN 1909. TOURIST BUSINESSES REMAINED HERE UNTIL THE 1940s. DURING WORLD WAR II, WARD ISLAND WAS ACQUIRED BY THE U.S. NAVY FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A RADAR STA-TION AND TRAINING BASE COMMISSIONED IN JULY 1942, THE BASE PROVIDED ADVANCED TRAINING TO NAVY, MARINE, COAST GUARD AND ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FORCE PERSONNEL. IN 1943 THE FACILITY WAS RENAMED NAVAL AIR TECHNICAL TRAINING CENTER AND INCLUDED 87 MAIN BUILDINGS SUCH AS BARRACKS, CLASSROOMS, AN ADMINISTRATION BUILDING, MESS HALL, LIBRARY, AND CHAPEL FOR MORE THAN THREE YEARS THIS BASE OPERATED AS THE NAWS ONLY AVIATION ELECTRONIC TRAINING SCHOOL, GRADUATING MORE THAN 10,000 TECHNICIANS.

DECLARED SURPLUS BY THE NAVY, THE BASE WAS CLOSED IN OCTOBER 1947, THAT YEAR IT BECAME THE SITE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CORPUS CHRISTI, WHICH LATER DEVELOPED INTO TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY-CORPUS CHRISTI.
(1997)