Written by SFPhotocraft on 14 Apr, 2005
I think we all have had that expierence of getting lost and actually finding something more interesting than the thing you were looking for in the first place. This was our expierence on Galveston Island. We got up early as we planned to…Read More
I think we all have had that expierence of getting lost and actually finding something more interesting than the thing you were looking for in the first place. This was our expierence on Galveston Island. We got up early as we planned to spend a full day at Moody Gardens. However do to poor directions from our hotel and very poor signage alone Seawall Blvd, we zipped right past the turn-off for Moody Gardens. In reality, the travel gods were with us and had planned to take us another adventure!
I kept heading south, following the Gulf of Mexico away from the crowded beach and tourist area. The beach homes here were large and luxurious and all built on stilts to protect them from hurricanes and coastal flooding. By this time, I knew I must have gone too far, but I was enjoying the beach home tour. We drove through little beach communities with romantic names like Jamaica Beach. There were just a few small grocery stores and a local seafood shack or two this far out of town. However, the beach seemed to be broader and more beautiful here.
Soon we came to a toll bridge (that was unmanned) and a small island of more weekend homes. We knew we had come to the end of the road, and it was time to resume our hunt for Moody Gardens.
However, at the foot of the toll bridge, the kids noticed a car or two parked on the beach and folks fishing the Gulf of Mexico. They begged for us to explore a little more and also drive on the beach and see what these folks were fishing for. I thought twice about talking the rental car off the secure highway but was up for a little adventure myself, so off the road we drove! Splash! Right into a huge puddle, or was it a pond? Our car handled the water hazard just fine, and soon we were on the open beach!
The beach here was not as crowded as in Galveston, and it actually had some white sand. We parked the car and explored the beach by foot. The kids were delighted the minute they stepped out of the car and the sand was covered in sea shells - hundreds of them!
The kids walked up and down the beach with their hands and pockets filled with the most perfect shells. There were mostly scallop shells, but also some small conch shells. Many had unique and interesting colors. There is nothing like exploring a beach with kids! We found a dead squid, and that required a lot of examination.
We were the only ones on this beach, expect for a few fisherman in the far distance. The wind was blowing and it was a bit chilly. However we had a grand time walking up and down this beach on The Gulf of Mexico and finding gifts from the sea.
The water had some gentle waves and looked fairly calm. It was a bit too chilly to take a dip. There are no lifeguards way out here, so don't swim alone, and be catious if you do take a dip.
Of the the three days we spent in Galveston, this hour will be the part of the trip I remember the most. Yes, the travel gods were with us and made sure we got a little lost to show us this marvelous beach. When the travel gods point - follow!
Written by Jose Kevo on 07 Jul, 2004
Shame on Me!
Coming home from work the day after this plan had hatched, I was still trying to wrap my mind around the extreme spontaneity that had became almost as foreign as my usual travel list. One thing that was certain: I looked…Read More
Shame on Me!
Coming home from work the day after this plan had hatched, I was still trying to wrap my mind around the extreme spontaneity that had became almost as foreign as my usual travel list. One thing that was certain: I looked white as a ghost and needed to catch some "flava" so as not to roast by absorbing unlimited sun and surf.
Stretched out in the backyard, I could reach out and touch a piece of my created Midwest paradise. There's no denying I've contracted chronic island fever; often terminal at times. The thought of beach whetted my appetite, but I remembered what the Texas coasts were like. When coming back inside, I wrote this potential journal description/overview exposing my spoiled beach snobbery all but shamelessly:
• Have you ever wanted apple pie and been stuck eatin' cherry? Chances are, you settled for what ever was served. Galveston was to be "my slice" tiding me over till the holidays in Bayahibe. It's like taking a lunch break while Christmas shopping and getting a hungering for pie. All they're still serving is Thanksgiving pumpkin...imploding inward from suckin' the life out of those preserved till Jesus come additives. So how bad do you want that pie?
Unavoidable Departure Screws & BluesWhat is it about that last shift before leaving that always ends up being the roughest, toughest, busiest day you'll likely put in for the entire month...not even counting the fact you're mentally already checked-out? Surely there's others that can affirm the absolute torture during those final hours - whether anticipating a hot date for the night or long-earned vacation break.
I was coming off 11 days straight without time off and was all but delirious just wanting to break the hell out. Of course this turned out to be the first Friday night we'd had to work for the season, the largest of the groups running almost an hour behind, and our boss came up with a "this needs to be done" project. Thankfully, co-workers covered allowing me to slip out at 7:30 p.m. Raring to go, my travel partners were almost another 30-minutes late picking me up. Seems to be such is life...
Women can't talk and driveThere was no problem piling into the back seat and letting the ladies drive. Once turning off the Will Rogers Turnpike in Oklahoma, Highway 69 is our closest alternative heading for Texas. The key word is "highway"; passing through these little redneck towns that are nothing but speed traps cutting into travel time. Using cruise control was futile.
Fading off from the conversation, I must have gotten hypnotized from watching the speedometer going back and forth ever so slowly. However, speed zones weren't the only problem. The more Donna and Naomi talked and were into conversation, the slower they drove!
Under Major ConstructionThe SUV jerking and a rash of panicked instructions startled me from my brief nap. Still reclined, I peered up through the windows to see what looked like the set from some science fiction movie. North of Dallas where I-75 connects to I-635 which loops around the outer city, there's some major construction underway with a new interchange project entangling at least four towering lanes high! It was one of the most unnaturally bizarre things I've ever seen.
Wandering wonder of it allEarly Saturday morning, small talk broke out with the couple also waiting for campsite check-in. They were from San Marcos, Texas pulling one of those accommodating, deluxe "did we forget anything from home" trailers. They'd hoped to stay through the following 4th of July weekend, but camp was already totally reserved for the holiday.
We got to talkin'; told them we were from Missouri. He asked how long we planned on staying, and I indicated only one night cause everyone had to be back for work Monday morning. We exchanged "seriouslys" in ask/answer fashion; the guy asked again how long we planned on staying. I ran through our brief itinerary. Then he called his wife over and had me repeat it again. He asks, "well what part of Missouri?" as if a couple of more hundred miles would've made a difference...
Won't you be my Neighbor?Campers are always so friendly in such a curious sort of way. Our first priority was finding a dry spot; the added bonus was campsites were vacant on both sides and remained that way. While setting up camp, I'd noticed the curtains move a couple of times from the large travel trailer a couple of spaces down.
Later when heading off to the beach, the lady down the block just happened to be coming towards me. She smiled and with southern drawl issued a warm greeting. I smiled back offering a "buenas tardes" figuring I'd clue her in, while also breaking her in slowly to what was on tap that night for at least the music...
Can You See Me Now? Cellular PostcardsTo heck with buying postcards and stamps. Cellular phones instantly transmit that "look where I'm at and you're not" opportunity to gloat provided subject of envy has a model to receive pictures. And for those that don't, having to shout while explaining it's not static but tides pounding in the background works just as well.
Hot off the GrillPart of our Go Ghetto plan had been to raid our refrigerators and pantries for items "cooler friendly" while filling without much effort. For dinner we had steaks, baked potatoes and beans. For breakfast, fresh mangos, papayas and peaches along with quesadillas from leftover steak, and breakfast burritos with cheese, scrambled eggs and grilled hot dogs.
Perhaps something different might have been nice for the occasion. Change the baked potato to rice, the hot dog to chorizo and that's the kind of stuff I usually eat anyway. Oh yeh, there was something different - loads of junk food you'd never find in my house. Well, except for the pork rinds / chicharrónes - the islands' popcorn.
A Tough Nut to CrackNo matter where you go or how you're getting there, it's always a boost to look out and see that first swaying, slender and fringed seductress of a palm tree hinting the tropical transport that waits ahead. Ours was a row of Ornamental Date palms around a car lot outside of Houston at dawn.
Since you're not allowed to bring back coconuts from the islands, I was on the hunt for a pair of rotten ones to plant for future palm trees. Along the way, I found King Jack, Majesty, Palmetto, Oriental Fan, and Sago Needle varieties, but there wasn't a coconut palm to be had on Galveston Island or within these Texas parts; only kinds transplanted by landscape companies. We kept passing their nurseries and storage lots. Looking out the window without even having chance to ask, I was told I couldn't buy one to strap across the roof...
Blast Off...with a detourI'm a firm believer when it's time to go, it's time to go! But there was no sneaking passed the pair of exits pointing towards the NASA Space Center. I was outnumbered...by vote and cars trying to veer towards the exit lanes.
The 15-minute, northward drive off interstate was along the crappiest roads we encountered in the entire state of Texas! I'd told the girls to have cameras ready and I'd drive slow without inviting anyone to kiss the bumper. Turning left at the main entrance, there were assorted rockets just off the side. Trouble was a security check-point situated between us and small parking lot just beyond.
The military security guard, looking like he was filling some high school internship, insisted we go to the visitor's center and buy tickets for the trolley if we wanted closer viewing. His smile erased their quest for rocket shots. Pulling away, all they wanted was finding room to take the kid home, too! I offered swinging back around to catch a shot of them standing with the guard. Knowing I was serious enough to subject them to such foolishness was permission pass for heading back to the interstate.
Beverages vs. Pit StopsThere comes a certain point while making long-hauls when beverages sustaining coherence begin dictating too many bathroom breaks defeating purpose of rapid travel. Eagerly volunteering to drive the 669-miles home, concerted yawning after midnight was my cue for frequent intake which involved stopping for purchases while redepositing the last rounds.
Coffee has always been my faithful companion, but this was first time trying so-called Natural Super Energy Supplements. SoBe No Fear won over Red Bull simply because 16oz. cans were bigger. Also got my first taste of Pimp Juice to see what all the controversy was about. Don't know that I was impressed with either; likely because I'd been sippin' Mama Juana all weekend; the Dominican natural elixir.
If you've grown tired of all the traditional I See Something... roadtrip games, here's a new one to test drive: count the number of Wal Marts you pass for the duration of your trip and expect passengers (including driver) to need all twenty toes and…Read More
If you've grown tired of all the traditional I See Something... roadtrip games, here's a new one to test drive: count the number of Wal Marts you pass for the duration of your trip and expect passengers (including driver) to need all twenty toes and fingers!
This little adventure came at a time when none of us could really afford to do anything; but perhaps that was part of the appeal? Everyone always seems so amazed when I talk about my travels and how inexpensive it can be for having the time of your life. Drawing up a rather extensive list of what to bring, the goal was to spend less than $50 among us for everything else not including splitting cost for gas. I'd still like to believe this was feasible...that is if we'd been able to avoid stopping at Wal-Mart.
We arrived to showers in Galveston after a two-inch downpour the day before, and predictions for more the entire weekend. Finding the campsites near swamp-like conditions, needing tarps specialized the generic list of ice, lighter fluid, and eggs that could have been purchased anywhere. It's actually rather funny (but potentially scary) to think how we've been brainwashed like Pavlov's dog when that unexplainable, gotta go to Wal Mart enigma creeps in.
Located on Galveston's Seawall Ave., it seemed odd having palm trees in the almost well-known parking lot...invaded by swooping seagulls. So what more could you expect from a beachfront Wal-Mart? Entire lines of products we'd never see at our land-locked local outlet. Sleep deprived and slap-happy from the road, we each grabbed a cart and forgot about any budget planning. One can always justify spending at Wal-Mart!
Among my "can't live without " finds, a new 33"-boogie board carefully selected from rows and rows of beach-related accessories that had me worse than a kid in the candy store! Of course also came the need for actual surfing shorts and shirt to match. Air mattresses to sleep on were $1.50, and a huge tarp only $3.88.
Thankfully, I displayed self-discipline in housewares where lighthouses and palm trees had replaced the midwest emblems of rustic cabins and hunting lodges. However, I shouldn't have volunteered to pick-up lighter fluid cause it took me to the Garden Center. Mini-tropical plants unlike we get here? Absolutely had to have three.
Cans of Jumex fruit nectar were 12-cents cheaper, and at 50-cents a pound, there was a major haul on papayas. But here's a Big Tip for all you Texas travelers: Only liquor stores can sell liquor. Places like Wal-Mart - beer, wines, foo-foo stuff and more bottles of Boones Farm or Mad Dogg 20/20 than I'd seen in eons! (Seen; not drank!)
Hints of ritual awareness quickly fleeted when finding all these unmanned check-out lines with automated service. That's right, place everything on the belt, scan your crap, and then place it in a bag before swiping your credit card or feeding cash into the machine. Theft is further prevented by balancing scales - something off the belt has to go into a bag or expect major problems.
Dispersing to different lanes, the smug computerized voice trumpeting our error messages rather paled to our frustrated cursings. At home, we may be just across the border from Bentonville, Arkansas with store #13, but this was certainly one feature Wal-Mart can keep in these other territories. Then again, automated machines can't file lawsuits!
We'd yet to unload anything out of the SUV and began shifting around to figure out where everything was going to fit. Turns out, I was the lucky one only spending $49.73. Guilt for blowing our budget plan lasted through about the time it took exiting the parking lot, but we agreed avoiding Wal Mart was the only way to keep from over-spending for the remainder of this trip and any future ones. If only things were that easy...
Is It Funny Yet?
Pulling over in McAlester, Oklahoma for the first fuel stop on our way down, Donna shrieked at the gas pump. Deciding not to haul her gazillion keys to Texas, she'd lightened her keychain before leaving...which included leaving behind key to the gas cap! There was that initial panic of "we're screwed" while also determining there wasn't enough gas to drive the 3+-hours back home for retrieving key.
Breaking the cap appeared to be our only option, but attempts were trivial. About that time, a god-awful pick-up came jostling up to the pump behind us and out stepped this big ol' goat-roper looking like an extra from the movie Deliverance. This wasn't the time to be proud or shy and Donna marched right over and asked for help.
This guy began digging through his toolbox and appeared with a large pick-like screwdriver, hammer, and over-industrious effort. Donna squeezed my hand while turning to look the other way, and with a final whack, the lid flew off rolling across the parking lot. Our thanks seemed not to suffice with his levels of flirtation to the ladies. We fueled up and got the hell out of there; thankful we'd survived our first road-trip crisis...
OK, Is It Funny Yet?
We were headed home when stopping to get gas just outside of Corsicana, Texas about an hour south of Dallas. Running near empty myself and with a good 6-hours still to go, the fueling and bathroom breaks were quick in preparing to get back on the road. Pulling out of the lot, something rolled across the top of the car causing a rather puzzled look. Immediately it registered the gas cap hadn't been put back on.
Pulling off in the nearest drive, the roadside search was on trapsing through calf-high weeds, standing water, and about any other debris you'd expect to find...but no gas cap no matter how earnestly we paced. Donna walked back up to the gas station to see if perhaps they had an extra cap someone else had left behind. They didn't but a trucker assured the safety valve should make traveling ok. Hhm, exactly what I'd been ignored about.
We wrote this off as our second mishap for the weekend - both involving the gas cap, and prepared to get back on the interstate. Then Donna said she didn't want me tossing anymore butts out the window since the capless tank was on the drivers side. Excuse me!?! There was no way making this all-night drive without it and I immediately took the next Corsicana exit in search of Wal-Mart!
Pulling off at the first station to ask directions, the attendant gave a rather detailed and extensive route which involved taking the business route into town and turning left on 7th Ave. under the viaduct By now, pissiness involving the whole draining weekend and ordeal had surfaced including getting caught waiting for a train to pass that must have stretched all the way back to Dallas. Once on 7th Ave., we drove and drove; so long and so far towards the unexplainable "magnetic spend" force, it prompted a second set of directions to insure we were still on the right path.
A good 15-minutes later, finally the sign off in the distance; just our luck we'd be stuck in the only town in Texas which didn't have their Wal-Mart right on the interstate!
Donna went in to check gas caps while I walked over to a bench in the garden center and tried to cool off while watching the sunset..what was supposed to be seen with the Dallas skyline. She eventually returned with $17+-worth of two gas caps...neither of which fit though the clerk had told her these things run standard. Jamming one into the funnel best we could, what's done was done! She said she didn't care, I growled maybe we'd get lucky and I'd blow our asses back to Missouri. The long-ride back through town was quiet.
By the time we'd made the hour drive to Dallas, all was well; Donna more ready to laugh about the entire ridiculous situation than was I. At one point on down the road, I heard a minor shift among our stuff piled in back...or so I thought.
We'd driven a couple of more hours before stopping for gas in Savanna, Oklahoma. The girls went in while fueling up. Unjamming the ill-fit gas cap, I habitually reached to place it on the roof...when looking up to see "the lost one" wedged against the luggage rack. Now, it was strangely funny and unbelievable.
Before leaving, we made sure we still had the bag, labels and receipts for the other two unusable gas caps; they'd be returned to Wal-Mart the following morning when dropping off the film, buying milk, picking up a pack of floppy discs...you get the ever-spending, never-ending picture.
Written by pkysjc on 14 Mar, 2004
We decided to begin our Mardi Gras cruise, which would also be stopping in New Orleans for three days for their Mardi Gras, by attending what I call "The Other Mardi Gras" in Galveston. The first thing we noticed was when getting to the…Read More
We decided to begin our Mardi Gras cruise, which would also be stopping in New Orleans for three days for their Mardi Gras, by attending what I call "The Other Mardi Gras" in Galveston.
The first thing we noticed was when getting to the location where the festivities were to be held (The Strand), there was a $20 entrance fee. Within this area they had concession booths set up with vendors selling food, souvenirs, and other various Mardi Gras items. Stores were also prepared for the occasion by selling hurricanes, beer and different types of food from their storefronts. There were different areas set up for entertainment with various bands that played throughout the day.
For the Bourbon Street feel, buildings on the main strip with balconies had people throwing beads to be people below, which attracted a lot of people to the street.
By noon the crowds were starting to arrive really getting into the mood. What bothered me was the police in the crowds. I have attended many Mardi Gras in New Orleans and I am use to seeing the police in the crowds patrolling to make sure that the crowds don't get out of hand, but the police here seemed like they were just waiting for something bad to happen. It just felt very uneasy. By 5pm, the crowd started getting a little rowdy and we felt it best to leave before things got out of hand.
Later in the evening, we attended a parade that was scheduled to take place along Seawall Blvd. Here I felt more comfortable. The parade crowd was more of a family atmosphere and just enjoying having a good time watching the parade and catching beads.
This was a good experience, but I probably would not come to Galveston just for Mardi Gras. If I should take another cruise during Mardi Gras, I would attend again, but not just for the sole purpose of coming to Galveston just for Mardi Gras.
It was a good experience but I prefer the "Big Dog" Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Written by CDub on 19 Mar, 2005
The Curiosity Shoppe (fine papers and gifts) is a nice little store that sells things my wife and daughters love to buy. The Curiosity Shoppe has a large collection of items for the house, the office, and gag-type gifts for friends. I particularly liked the…Read More
The Curiosity Shoppe (fine papers and gifts) is a nice little store that sells things my wife and daughters love to buy. The Curiosity Shoppe has a large collection of items for the house, the office, and gag-type gifts for friends. I particularly liked the variety of THINGS this shop offers, and it goes on my recommendation list for places to shop on the Strand. Again, watch your pocket book, because if you have daughters like I do, you might need to stop by the bank first. Wow, can they shop!
Gracie’s is another little store my family enjoys shopping in. I really didn’t see the difference between Gracie’s and the Curiosity Shoppe, but my girls did. This is part of my learning the fine art of shopping and being closer to my girls, as I did give in and shopped. Shopping is what we do. I pay, they shop! I recommend this place also for you people who like the little things.
Tola is a store with a Caribbean feel to it; I guess the Caribbean music they play as you shop helps to put you in the mood. You can find your Caribbean attire, baskets, and other items for the beach in this store. I particular liked the laid-back atmosphere in this little market on the Strand. Maybe next time I can fit into those shorts I liked so much.
Written by dennistravels on 12 May, 2003
I love anything that travels on rails so I was looking forward to our trip to Galveston because of the Galveston Island Trolley.
According to the guide books I read, the trolley is a recreation of the cars that provided many Galvestonians transportation from the late…Read More
I love anything that travels on rails so I was looking forward to our trip to Galveston because of the Galveston Island Trolley.
According to the guide books I read, the trolley is a recreation of the cars that provided many Galvestonians transportation from the late 1800’s until 1938.
Upon our arrival in downtown Galveston, we quickly found the trolley tracks but we couldn’t find a trolley.
At first we thought it might be because of the day of the week or maybe the trolley only ran at certain hours and we had missed it.
Returning to the downtown area the next day, we parked our car and headed for a trolley stop, where we had been told that a trolley came by every few minutes. After waiting over an hour, we finally decided to resume our search for the elusive trolley.
Stopping at the cruise ship dock, I asked a parking lot attendant for information on the trolley. I was told that the trolley did not run when a cruise ship was in port and it just so happened a cruise ship was in port that day.
Figuring that he knew what he was talking about we decided to do something else that day and come back the next day to ride the trolley.
Arriving back downtown the next day, we returned once again to the trolley stop, where we waited for the trolley. When it didn’t show up, we decided to ask at the visitor’s center. Surely, they would know when the trolley would be running.
At the visitor’s center, we were told the trolley was not running because of construction work being done on the tracks. I found that a little hard to believe because we had traveled the entire route of the trolley and did not see any construction taking place.
However, we did learn that you could find out if the trolley is running by going by the trolley barn (located behind the railroad museum) and checking to see if the doors are open.
If the doors are open, the trolley is running and if the doors are closed, the trolley is not running.
For the entire rest of our stay, we would check the doors of the trolley barn on our way into town. They were always closed.
But as my wife said, "this just gives us an excuse to come back to Galveston," although I do want to make sure the trolley is running before I make any plans to return.
The problem is – How do you find out?
Written by Stircrazy on 22 Aug, 2000
Galveston was named for Bernardo de Galvez, a Spanish colonial governor and general. Galvez sent Jose de Evia to chart the Gulf of Mexico from the Texas Coast to New Orleans, and on July 23, 1786 de Evia charted an area near the mouth of…Read More
Galveston was named for Bernardo de Galvez, a Spanish colonial governor and general. Galvez sent Jose de Evia to chart the Gulf of Mexico from the Texas Coast to New Orleans, and on July 23, 1786 de Evia charted an area near the mouth of a river and named it Galveston Bay. Later the island and city took the same name. Bernardo de Galvez died the same year, never setting foot on his namesake.
In the 1500's, Galveston Island was home to Karankawa Indians who camped, fished and hunted the swampy land and buried their dead here. The Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca was stranded on the Island living among the Karankawa for several years as a medicine man and slave.
In the late 1600's French explorer Robert Cavelier La Salle, although he did not reach Galveston Island, claimed this area for King Louis and named it St. Louis.
The privateer Jean Lafitte arrived on the Island in 1817 making it his base of operations and naming it Campeche. The little village contained huts for the pirates, a large slave market, boarding houses for visiting buyers, a shipyard, saloons, pool halls, gambling houses and Lafitte's own mansion, the 'Maison Rouge.'
General James Long attempted to recruit Lafitte to help make Texas independent from Spain and Mexico but Lafitte remained neutral. In 1820 Mexico won independence from Spain, but Lafitte stayed on the Island. After Lafitte's attack on an American ship, he was forced to abandon his operations here in May 1821. Before leaving, he held a huge party for his pirates with wine and whiskey and burned his settlement. It is believed that he had buried treasure on the Island, but it has never been found.
In 1821, Jane Long, while waiting for the return of her husband General James Long, became 'The Mother of Texas' giving birth to the first Anglo-Saxon native Texan, Mary Jane Long on Bolivar Peninsula. Gen. Long had been killed in Mexico.
In 1836, four ships of the Texas Navy made headquarters on the Island and protected the Texas coast from harassment by the Mexican Navy. These ships prevented supplies and men from reaching Santa Anna, insuring victory for Sam Houston's army at San Jacinto, 22 miles northwest of Galveston.
In 1836, Michel B. Menard, a native of Canada, purchased a 'league and labor' of land for $50,000 from the Austin Colony to establish the City of Galveston. The City of Galveston started with an area of seven square miles. enard, needed additional money to promote the town and formed the City of Galveston with nine other men. These men were Gail Borden, Jr. (publisher of the Telegraph and Texas Register and inventor of condensed milk); Samuel May Williams (former secretary to Stephen F. Austin and successful merchant); Thomas F. McKinney (Williams' mercantile partner and an early cotton trader); William H. Jack (Texas patriot and distinguished statesman); A.J. Yates (loan commissioner for the Republic of Texas); John K. Allen (a founder of Houston); Mosley Baker (lawyer and patriot); James Love (eminent jurist and successful planter) and David White (an investor from Mobile, Alabama).
Congress made Galveston a port of entry in 1837 and appointed Gail Borden as Collector of Customs; the first customs house had been opened in Galveston in 1825. Several prefabricated houses arrived from Maine in 1837, one belonging to Augustus Allen, which was sold to Michel Menard in 1839 and still stands.
The land which is now Galveston was part of the original Austin Colony, but Menard and his associates bought the site from the Republic of Texas. Town lots were made available in 1838, and the city was incorporated in 1839. Galveston's harbor became an active port with ships from all over the world importing their goods here.
Hotels, such as the Tremont Hotel, were built. Since chartered banks had not been approved by Congress, financial transactions were handled by mercantile firms. The Strand was filled with wholesalers, cotton agents, paint, drug, grocery, hardware and dry goods stores, and insurance companies. The Strand became the 'Wall Street of the Southwest' for the largest and most important wholesale houses west of the Mississippi River.
Between 1838 and 1842, 18 newspapers were started. The Galveston News, founded in 1842, is the only surviving newspaper now published as The Galveston County Daily News. It is the oldest daily newspaper in the state.
A bridge to the mainland was finished in 1860. The bridge opened the opportunity for railroad expansion.
Galveston's prosperity was suddenly taken to a halt on September 8, 1900, when the deadliest natural disaster in United States history hit Galveston Island. A storm with winds over 120 miles per hour and tidal surge devastated the island and killed over 6,000 people. At the time of the 1900 storm, Galveston had a population of almost 38,000 and ranked fourth in the state. One-third of the city was completely destroyed. The bodies were weighted and buried at sea, but later washed ashore and were burned. The dead were uncovered at a rate of 70 per day for at least a month after the storm.
To prevent such a natural disaster from devastating the island in such magnitude again, the city built a seawall seven miles long and 17 feet high and began a tremendous grade raising project. Galveston's Seawall now extends 54,790 feet, one-third of Galveston's ocean front. Total cost was $14,497,399.
It stands 16 to 20 feet wide at the base and at the top ranges from three to five feet in width and is composed of granite, sandstone or concrete apron from 27 to 40 feet. Many structures were jacked up during the grade raising while dredges poured four to six feet of sand beneath them; in others (such as Ashton Villa) the fill was pumped into the raised basements. Residents used elevated wooden sidewalks to walk through town. The grade raising project began in 1902 and was completed in 1910 and included 500 city blocks.
Galveston overcame the devastation to become a top resort. One of its greatest attractions was the Pulchritude of Beauty Pageants, held annually between 1920 and 1932. During the 1920's through the 1940's, Sam Maceo's famous nightclubs, the Balinese Room and the Hollywood Dinner Club, were host to such performers as Phil Harris, Paul Whiteman, Guy Lombardo, Duke Ellington and Freddy Martin. Galveston attracted people from all over the nation with great dining, big name entertainment, roulette, blackjack, crap tables and slot machines.
Galveston's Historical Society, which began in 1871, was revived in 1954 with the incorporation of the Galveston Historical Foundation. A small group of dedicated historians and preservationists saved one of Galveston's oldest homes, the Samuel May Williams Home.
The Galveston Historical Foundation recently celebrated its 125th anniversary and continues its ongoing effort to preserve Galveston's history and historic homes and landmarks. Galveston has over 550 designated historical landmarks on the National Register of Historic Places and over 1500 historic homes. Two historic neighborhoods are designated including the East End Historic District and the Silk Stocking District. The Strand National Historic Landmark District, formerly known as the 'Wall Street of the Southwest' is now home to over 95 shops, antique stores, restaurants and art galleries, surrounded by beautiful architecture.
Galveston Island has 13 museums and historic homes open to the public for tours. Additional historic homes are open to the public during the Galveston Historical Foundation Annual Homes Tour, held every year during the first two weekends in May.
(Content courtesy of Galveston Historical Foundation) Close
Written by doloresb on 17 Apr, 2005
Pots and other "stuff" are just thrown helter-skelter into the cupboard. I told them on the third day that a cup was missing, and since I didn't tell them within 24 hours, I was told it would cost me $3. I bought the same…Read More
Pots and other "stuff" are just thrown helter-skelter into the cupboard. I told them on the third day that a cup was missing, and since I didn't tell them within 24 hours, I was told it would cost me $3. I bought the same cup at Salvation Army for $1; it's the only cup in the set not stained or chipped. If you don't keep the doors closed, they call you on the phone and tell you to close them. There was an overwhelming smell of mildew, the couch smells of body odor, and we saw cockroach on the ceiling. The units are old and in serious need of repair. Management is not user-friendly. I didn't buy a timeshare and join RCI to be treated like trailer trash. Close
Written by Mrs.Peel on 03 Dec, 2002
Shoreline Dentistry is above Wings next to the Holiday Inn on the Seawall. Dr. Blankenship is loved by his patients. EVERYONE thinks he is so gentle and understanding. He does good work too. The best part, I think, is that all…Read More
Shoreline Dentistry is above Wings next to the Holiday Inn on the Seawall. Dr. Blankenship is loved by his patients. EVERYONE thinks he is so gentle and understanding. He does good work too. The best part, I think, is that all of his chairs look out onto the ocean. Since the office is located on the second floor, the view is excellent. His staff is friendly and is willing to work with you. Because he is on the Seawall, he gets lots of tourists that have broken teeth or lost fillings while on vacation. He is very understanding about this. I recommend him if you need a dentist. They can be reached at 409)762-4488 or shorelinedentisty.com. Close
Written by Mrs. J on 20 Oct, 2000
I've been going to Galveston for many years and have never seen any boats at the beach. I always thought there was some sort of law against it. My father took us out in his fishing boats to the bays, the Intercoastal Waterways…Read More
I've been going to Galveston for many years and have never seen any boats at the beach. I always thought there was some sort of law against it. My father took us out in his fishing boats to the bays, the Intercoastal Waterways and even far out in the Gulf where the water is clear and the flying fish seem to travel in above-the-water schools. Close to shore, tides and winds cause choppy waters most of the time. Since Galveston is a barrier island exposed to the open Gulf on the south side and the Gulf is noted for it's short chop (waves very close together) it doesn't make for comfortable boating. Also, motor boats aren't allowed to beach on the shores in order to protect swimmers. There are many, many sand bars along this coast. I guess some of them become so big that they poke up out of the water and can be seen, but most are just below the surface. You can see people wade fishing off this coast--it will look like they are walking on water a mile out off the beach. They are on a sand bar. The very gradual slope in the depth of the water allows you to wade so far from shore that if your family looks up from the beach and sees you--a little dot on the horizon--they'll become quite alarmed and grab the binocs to check on you. Close