The Tarpon Inn, in Port Aransas on the south east Texas coast, was built in the 1920s specifically to resist hurricanes and the storm surges that had destroyed its earlier versions. A forest of pine poles are set each in 16' of concrete and continue through two storeys to the roof. There is a post in each corner of each small room. There are no inside corridors, you get to your room from the porch. The lobby is papered with tarpon scales – discs about 1.5" across – each signed by the fisherman who caught it, including famous people who came for the sport, mostly in the 1920s and 30s when there was a lot of tarpon, Megalops atlanticus, in the Gulf.
Tarpon are warm water ocean sport fish, 4-8' long and up to 250 lbs. It is alleged that the tarpon has suffered a massive decline along the Gulf coastline since the 1950s because of loss of coastal 'nursery' marshes: mangrove marshes in Florida, a seawall across much of Mississippi that used to be marsh, and increased commercial fishing of menhaden, a tarpon food source.
Why am I revisiting the Tarpon Inn after twenty years since I saw it? Perhaps because it is an ecology of people, architecture, climate and weather that seemed so precise, and so gone.