La Petite Belle Homeport/Palacios Area Historical Museum

401 Commerce Street, Palacios, TX 77465 • (361) 972-1148

Palacios played a crucial role in the journey of La Belle. To have been part of history when it happened over 300 years ago, and again during the extraordinary excavation, was a thrill for people in the community. People came from around the world, and residents here felt like Palacios was at the center of it all. That was really invigorating for a little town. Edith Gower, Director

A Fully-Functioning, Seagoing Replica of La Belle

Built to half-scale, the 30-foot long seaworthy vessel, La Petite Belle, serves as the La Salle Odyssey’s traveling ambassador, bringing its fascinating story to every port it visits. Near its homeport is a museum exhibit about the crucial role the community of Palacios played in the discovery and recovery of La Belle. A state-of-the-art interactive exhibit about La Salle's journey is scheduled to open in spring 2015 with a full-sized bow of La Belle, complete with anchor, cannon, swivel gun, and sailor.

About the Museum

Learn more about the history and natural history of the Palacios area in exhibits highlighting the Karankawa, agriculture and fishing in the region, World War II, and more. Discover Camp Hulen, which began as a Texas National Guard Camp in the mid-1920s and then became a bustling Army base with more than 14,000 troops during World War II. See the 100-year timeline created for the Palacios Centennial in 2009. Divided into decades, the timeline relates regional history in the context of what was happening in the rest of the world.

Must See

Don't miss the Hurricane Carla exhibit with photographs and quotes from those affected by the massive storm, the most intense tropical cyclone landfall in U.S. history. The hurricane struck the Texas coast on September 11, 1961. Coverage of the event catapulted journalist Dan Rather onto the national stage in what was the first televised broadcast of a hurricane.

For Kids

Call the museum to inquire about opportunities to see Edith Gower's first-person historical performance as Grand-mère Talon, grandmother of Pierre Talon, the young boy who sailed with La Salle aboard La Belle before he was adopted by the Karankawa and recaptured by the Spanish to retell all that had happened to him. Watch the movie, Shipwrecked, in the Texas Spirit Theater and experience Pierre's story in 4D. 

Banner image courtesy Texas Historical Commission