Barney and Fred Farley arrived on the Texas coast in 1910 and, within a few years, established the Farley and Son Boat Works in the island town of Port Aransas. The Farley’s boat building business had a singular purpose - to enable the brothers to develop a signature fishing boat designed to catch the tarpon, a favorite (and once plentiful) gamefish that had begun to draw anglers from across the country to Port Aransas for its sports fishing opportunities. Six decades of boat building followed, establishing the Farley Boat as an icon of Port Aransas and Mustang Island heritage.
Memorabilia and artifacts of the Farley’s enterprise as well as those from the Port Aransas sports fishing industry are now archived in the Port Aransas Museum, along with a collection of photographs and objects detailing the island’s history. The museum is housed in a restored 1900s “kit” home, popular with settlers arriving to Port Aransas and in need of building living quarters in a region where construction supplies were limited and scarce. The museum features the lighthouse lens once installed in the nearby Lydia Ann Lighthouse from 1878 to 1952, over 12,000 photographs documenting Port Aransas history, and the bell from the train that brought the rocks to build the Mustang Island jetties. Visitors are encouraged to ring it.