Connie Hagar fell in love with Rockport after visiting the area with her sister in 1934. In 1935, Connie convinced her husband, Jack to move from Corsicana to Rockport so she could enjoy the birds. Not ready to retire at 57 years old, Jack purchased the Rockport Cottages.
Jack and Connie lived in Cabin #1 and hosted tourists and birding enthusiasts in the rest of the cabins. Located at the corner of South Church St. and East First St. in Rockport, Aransas County, Texas, the Connie Hagar Cottage Sanctuary is the 6.25 acre former site of the Rockport Cottages. It was from the Rockport Cottages that Connie conducted her 35 years of twice-daily, nine-mile-long rounds recording her bird findings. Before Connie began her studies, little was known about the diversity of non-game birds along the Texas Central Coast. Connie’s reports to ornithologists about her bird findings intrigued them and they came to Rockport to find out for themselves if her reports were accurate.
Connie is often attributed with putting the Rockport/Fulton area on “the map” for birdwatchers. Jack and Connie Hagar had no children and when they both had passed away, their property was sold. The cottages were sold and moved off the site, as was the house that Connie later lived in after Jack passed away.
The property remained undeveloped for many years until acquired by the Friends of Connie Hagar, Inc. in 1994. The Connie Hagar Cottage Sanctuary became the first named stop on the Central Coast portion of the Great Texas Birding Trail. The site was dedicated and the sign was unveiled in a ceremony on September 8, 1994. Roger Tory Peterson was the featured speaker at the dedication ceremony and he spoke of his fond memories of
Connie Hagar, now a birding legend herself.
The Connie Hagar Cottage Sanctuary is still owned and managed by the Friends of Connie Hagar, Inc. for public wildlife viewing.