The original big blue crab was perched on top of the Del Mar Grill (the building occupied by TNJ Treasures in downtown Rockport). In 1957, Dorothy and Sal Silverman ran the Grill, and the specialty was Dorothy’s famous crab cakes, which is why the big crab was put on top of the building.
The crab was 18 X 25 feet wide and 25 feet deep from claw to fin. A company in Houston, which built floats for parades, had constructed it from rebar, fiberglass, chicken wire, and paper mache’. In 1965, the Grill closed and the next year the crab was purchased by the Chamber to be used in parades and displays to promote the Rockport area. In October 1966, the crab was moved to the Navigation Park, which is now Veterans Memorial Park. In 1969, a retired painter from Indiana, Ed Warner, repainted the crab. Tourists and locals loved to have their photographs taken in front of the crab.
The crab survived Hurricane Beulah in 1967, and Hurricane Celia in 1970. But eventually, time took its toll and the crab deteriorated. It was removed and later buried out by Palm Harbor. In the summer of 2004, a committee was formed to “Bring Back the Big Blue Crab.” Money was raised at area events by selling crab-themed merchandise.
In 2012, local artist David Allgood worked day and night on building a new crab. In August, the crab was installed on Little Bay to the west of the Beach entrance. The crab was one foot bigger than the original one which sat on top of the Del Mar Grill. Folks could once again have their photo taken in front of this famous Rockport icon.
Hurricane Harvey destroyed the big blue crab. Efforts are underway to build a new crab. In November 2017, Winery on the Bay held a fundraiser and silent auction to raise funds for crab #3. About $5,000 was raised at this event, and more fundraisers are planned for 2018. The Winery is selling T-shirts with the sales going towards the rebuilding of the Big Blue Crab. Debbie Parker, owner of The Winery, is spearheading the effort to bring the iconic crab back!! Aransas County residents and all of our visitors miss the crab. So, as the original crab committee used to say, “Let’s Bring Back the Big Blue Crab!”