The port of Indianola, on Matagorda Bay in Calhoun County, was founded in August 1846 as Indian Point by Sam Addison White and William M. Cook. In 1844 a stretch of beach near the point had been selected by Carl, Prince of Solms Braunfels, commissioner general of the Adelsverein, as the landing place for German immigrants bound for western Texas under the sponsorship of the society. The German landing area was referred to, briefly, as Karlshafen. One immigrant, Johann Schwartz, built the first house in the area in 1845. Indian Point became firmly established as a deep-water port during the Mexican War. For thirty years its army depot supplied frontier forts in western Texas. Anglo-American landowners in the area had the site surveyed in 1846 and began selling lots. The post office was opened in September 1847, and stagecoach service to the interior began in January 1848. Mrs. Angelina Belle Eberly, heroine of the Archives War in Austin, moved to Indian Point in 1848 and operated hotels there until her death in 1860. In February 1849 the name of the growing town was changed to Indianola. Indianola was the county seat of Calhoun County from 1852 to 1886. The town grew rapidly, expanding three miles down the beach to Powderhorn Bayou, following its selection by Charles Morgan as the Matagorda Bay terminus for his New York-based steamship line. In a short time, Indianola achieved the rank of the second port of Texas, a position it held until the catastrophic hurricane of September 16, 1875, devastated the low-lying city and caused great loss of life.
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