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    Galveston County History

    Historical Markers:

    Early History of Galveston County

    Galveston Island, for centuries a crossroad for Indians, privateers, Spanish and French explorers, for a time was capital of the Republic of Texas. This was during the Texas War for Independence, when Santa Anna was making his 1836 invasion. On March 17, the hastily organized ad interim Cabinet of President David G. Burnet evacuated Washington-on-the-Brazos, moving to Harrisburg, and then in April to Galveston. Here it remained until after the Texas Victory at San Jacinto on april 21, 1836. From January, 1836 until U. S. annexation in 1846, Galveston was the naval base for the fleet which protected shipping and sought to prevent Mexican invasion of Texas by way of the sea. By September, 1837, the four ships of the Texas Navy had all been lost. Not until April, 1840 was the Navy reorganized, under President M. B. Lamar. A former U. S. Naval officer, Edwin W. Moore, was made commodore. Afterward, when Moore became involved in a bitter controversy with President Sam Houston, Houston ordered the Navy to be sold. At the sale, the incensed people of Galveston used forceful means to prevent bidding. The ships at annexation were all transferred to the U. S. Navy.

    Reconstruction to 1900, Galveston County
    The revival of economic, political, social and religious institutions in Galveston County following the Civil War was more rapid than anywhere in the South. Galveston emerged as the largest city in Texas and with its natural seaport, became the focal point for sea and railroad transportation. The Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad was established. Wholesale grocery firms were established and cotton compressing firms were founded. The first electric lights used in Texas burned in Galveston and the first telephone in the state was installed. The city also became known for its beaches, fishing, palatial homes, flowers, palms, resorts and public schools. The greatest single development of the port occurred in the 1870s when the outer channel was dredged to a depth of 32 feet, sufficient to accommodate all ocean-going vessels. On the mainland, Shoal Point succeeded the Austinia settlement and became a permanent colony in 1894 when a group of land developers named it Texas City. During this period, Galveston was hit by three catastrophes -- a yellow fever epidemic, a fire in 1885 and the 1900 storm. Some 6,000 lives were lost in the hurricane. The citizens were determined to rebuild the city and a seawall was constructed by Galveston County, followed by an enormous city grade-raising project. The first city commission form of government was founded and was later adopted by municipalities throughout the United States.

    Galveston County, 1901 - 1965
    After 1900, the Port of Galveston emerged as the second largest in the U. S. Following completion of a deep-water channel to Texas City in 1904, the Mainland's major petroleum and petrochemical plants, tin smelter and allied industries had their beginning. Galveston's waterfront handles primarily dry cargo while Texas City handles liquid petroleum and petrochemical cargoes. Agriculture production is also important to the Galveston County economy. Rice, corn, grain, oats, dairying, poultry, truck crops and cattle raising are leading items. In 1913, the U. S. Army moved 10,000 men and eight of its twelve airplanes to Texas City, with the first successful test flight made from Texas City to San Antonio. In 1928, Galveston County began initial seawall protection for Texas City. Following the devastating effect of hurricane Carla in 1961, construction began on a 17-mile protective system extending around Texas City and LaMarque. Disaster struck Texas City, April 16, 1947, with the explosion of the French-flag steamer "Grandcamp." Resulting fires and explosions left 576 dead, 4,000 persons injured and $70,000,000 property damage. Undismayed, the city rebuilt. In addition to its port facilities, Galveston is a large supplier of seafood, is a major financial center, has a tea-blending plant, a rail and wire factory, grain elevators, a brewery, several large insurance companies, a ship repair yard and many part-associated industries. A servicing facility for nuclear-powered commercial vessels is also maintained here.' A major contributor to the Galveston economy is the University of Texas Medical Branch. Created in 1881, the facility is known as "The Mayo's of the South" and is a leading heart, surgical and burns treatment center. The Galveston County Memorial Hospital was constructed on the Mainland in 1952...

    Galveston County Courthouse
    Texas Galveston County Courthouse
    Galveston County Courthouse
    Photos courtesy Terry Jeanson

    Galveston County Town List

    Cities, Towns & Ghost Towns: History, attractions, landmarks, architecture, monuments, museums, cemeteries, bridges, parks, vintage & contemporary images, area destinations, hotels, and forum.

    County Seat - Galveston

    Book Hotel Here - Galveston Hotels
  • Alta Loma
  • Algoa
  • Bacliff
  • Bayview
  • Crystal Beach
  • Friendswood
  • Galveston County Seat
  • Gilchrist
  • High Island
  • Hitchcock
  • Jamaica Beach
  • Kemah
  • La Marque
  • League City
  • Port Bolivar
  • Santa Fe
  • Seabrook
  • Texas City

  • TX Galveston County  1907 Postal Map
    Galveston County Texas 1907 Postal Map
    Courtesy Texas General Land Office
    TX  Galveston County 1940s Map
    Galveston County 1920s Map
    Courtesy Texas General Land Office
    TX  Galveston County 1940s Map
    Galveston County 1940s Map
    Courtesy Texas General Land Office

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