Fulton Mansion State Historic Site, a Texas Historical Commission property, is located in Aransas County in the small town of Rockport, about 35 miles north of Corpus Christi. The 2.7-acre coastal site is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1840, East Coast entrepreneur George W. Fulton married Harriet Smith, daughter of powerful Republic-era politician Henry Smith. After Harriet’s father died, Fulton turned Harriet’s land inheritance on Aransas Bay into a ranching and meatpacking empire as part of the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company. During the 1870s, the Fultons made their fortune shipping cattle tallow and hides between Rockport and New Orleans. To symbolize their success, they built a mansion called Oakhurst. The mansion was built over a period of three years, 1874–1877, and was the showplace of the town named for them.
Fulton was a man of many talents who achieved some success as an engineer and inventor as well as a ranching entrepreneur and promoter of the Texas Gulf Coast. Harriet Smith Fulton was a devoted wife and companion throughout their marriage of more than 50 years, with many talents and skills of her own. Their bayside residence is a classic example of French Second Empire domestic architecture and is also a very personal and innovative dwelling. The historical significance of the house lies in its noteworthy architectural style, unique construction methods and advanced mechanical systems — which featured gas lighting, central heating and indoor plumbing with hot and cold running water — and includes the history of the Fulton family who built it and lived in it for 18 years.