History at Work - The Bend Magazine

History at Work

The Parks and Recreation offices occupy beautiful homes in downtown Heritage Park

Photography by Lillian Reitz

Nestled along the shoreline of downtown is a series of 12 houses that appear perfectly preserved from the past, including the historic Sidbury House. Built in 1893 by rancher, bank director and civic leader Charlotte Cook Scott Sidbury, the Sidbury House is now home — in a literal sense — to the offices of the director and six staff members of the Corpus Christi Parks and Recreation Department. The home is distinct, identified by its high Victorian architecture and “gingerbread” appearance due to its detailed woodwork. 

“Heritage Park is a very active and picturesque place. Families come to the house and take holiday pictures at the rose garden, [as well as] quinceaneras, weddings, graduations and engagements,” said director Dante Gonzalez. 

The Parks and Recreation Department also occupies offices in the historic French-Galvan House. A. M. French, the founder of First State Bank, built the home in 1908; it was purchased by Rafael Galvan in 1942. Galvan, who was the first Mexican-American police officer in Corpus Christi, was a founding member of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). The French-Galvan House has hosted many tour groups and works from artists, all sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department’s Arts and Culture section. 

These homes, which are colorfully painted and surrounded by greenery and roses, are truly a unique office space. “When I bring lunch, I like to sit in different areas of the park and enjoy my lunch,” said Gonzalez. “I often find myself finding something new about that house, like how it was built, or I’ll wander into space imagining what it was like when the houses were decorated inside like someone’s house.”