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GALVESTON, TEXAS

Galveston County Seat, Texas Gulf Coast
Hwy 45 and State 87
From Houston, Hwy 45 South 50 miles
309 miles from Dallas

Population: 57,247 (2000)

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Galveston Contents

  • Galveston Landmarks & Attractions
  • Galveston History
  • Galveston Storm
  • People
  • Galveston Related Stories
  • Galveston Texas Forum
  • Vintage Maps
  • Galveston Landmarks & Attractions

    The 2006 Galveston County Courthouse, Galveston, Texas
    Photo courtesy Terry Jeanson, May 2006
    Galveston County Courthouses >
  • Elissa: A Girl of Many Ports
    Texas’ "Official" Tall Ship

    The Elissa is now berthed just off the Strand on Galveston Island – at Pier 21.
    Photos courtesy Ken Rudine
  • Moody Gardens pyramids, Galveston, Texas
    Photo courtesy of Lou Ann Herda
  • Moody Gardens
    165-acres, including Aquarium Pyramid, Rainforest Pyramid, Discovery Pyramid, IMAX Theater/Visitor Center, Palm Beach, and Galveston Island Convention Center.
  • Galveston  beach
    Photo courtesy of Lou Ann Herda
  • Galveston Island Beach

    On the Gulf of Mexico.
    32 miles of sandy beach.
  • Sacred Heart Church, Galveston Texas
    Photo courtesy of Lou Ann Herda
  • Galveston Historic Churches
    Photos courtesy of Barclay Gibson
  • Ashton Villa, Galveston, Texas
    Photo courtesy of Lou Ann Herda
  • Ashton Villa
    c. 1859
    2328 Broadway

    Galveston Historical Foundation house/museum
  • Bishop's Palace, Galveston Texas
    Photo courtesy of Lou Ann Herda
  • The Bishop's Palace:
    1886 to 1893
    1402 Broadway
    One of the more ornate residences in the U. S. at the time. The house is on the AIA's list of American's 100 most outstanding residences.
  • Moody Mansion, Galveston, Texas
    Photo courtesy of Lou Ann Herda
  • The Moody Mansion
    c. 1892
    2618 Broadway
  • Rosenberg Library, Galveston, Texas
    Photo courtesy of Lou Ann Herda
  • Rosenberg Library contains many original manuscripts and letters of prominent Texas historical figures

    2310 Sealy Avenue
  • Book Galveston Hotels Here & Save
    Photo courtesy of Lou Ann Herda
  • Hotel Galvez: Built to restore Galveston as a tourist destination after the storm of 1900.
    Galveston Hotels - Book Here
  • The Seawall: Seawall, The Seawall Monument, and Statue in memory of the victims of the 1900 Storm
  • The Strand: Outstanding collection of cast iron buildings from the 19th Century.
  • Broadway Boulevard (Old Photos)
  • Ft. Crockett: Built as part of the coastal defense in 1897 - many cement bunkers were built and some are still visible between 45th and 53rd streets. The fort was deactivated in 1947.
  • Grand Opera House: c. 1894: 2020 Post Office Street
  • Galveston County Historical Museum: In the former Moody Bank (c. 1919) - 2219 Market Street
  • Galveston Island Beach: 32 miles stretch. Gulf of Mexico.
  • Galveston Island State Park
    14901 FM 3005 Galveston TX 77554 409/737-1222
    http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/galvesto/
  • Lone Star Flight Museum: At the airport
  • The Railroad Museum: Rosenberg at the foot of the Strand - 35 cars and engines in a circa 1932 depot
  • The Texas Heroes' Monument: Broadway and Rosenberg Avenue. Erected in 1900 (just five months before the storm) this 74 foot monument with a 22-foot bronze Victory was sculpted by Louis Amateis. $50,000 bequeathed by Henry Rosenberg paid for the Monument that was just recently restored in 1991.

    Nearby Destinations
    Crystal Beach, 8 miles NE of Port Bolivar, a free ferry ride from Galveston
  • Galveston History

    History in a Sea Shell

    It is difficult to come up with an abbreviated version of Galveston's fascinating history. It has loomed large on the pages of Texas History and has even taken center stage for events of national interest. From the time when Jean Lafitte called it Campeche to its use as the homeport for the Texas Navy, involvement in the Civil War, the Great Storm, its gambling heyday and WWII involvement - Galveston has kept an interesting diary. Galveston is also one of the rarest of American cities - one that was once on the ropes economically and came back a champion. Galveston's architecture alone has been the subject of many books.


    Galveston's Namesake
    Bernardo de Galvez by C. F. Eckhardt
    "If it hadn’t been for a Spaniard named Bernardo de Galvez—and yes, Galveston is named for him—the United States might not exist."


    A very simplified time-line of events
    1528: Cabeza de Vaca is shipwrecked nearby
    1685: LaSalle visits
    1815: Jean Lafitte settles here and builds his combination house/fort Maison Rouge
    1836: becomes homeport for the Texas Navy
    1839: Galveston is incorporated
    1850s: Stagecoach service established to Freeport
    1860s: Site of several battles during the Civil War - several sunken vessels remain in the channel.
    1897: Ft. Crockett established.
    1900: The great storm - One of America's worst natural disasters. No exact figures are known, but the death number has been given as well over 5,000.
    The Galveston Storm by Archie P. McDonald, PhD
    From "All Things Historical" Column
    Because it occurred before petulant females -- and later males -- lent their names to hurricanes, this one will always be known simply as the Galveston storm, or hurricane. Galveton has been the bullseye for many of them, but the one that struck on September 8, 1900, still reigns as the worst natural disaster in United States history because an estimated 10,000 people lost their lives. more

    Galveston 1900 by Mike Cox
    From "Texas Tales" Column
    An important coastal city is devastated by a powerful hurricane. Thousands are believed dead. Bewildered survivors are left with no water, food, electricity, transportation or communication. Looters prowl the ruined community, stealing anything they can carry away. Fires rage out of control, frustrated firefighters helpless to put them out. Survivors swelter in the heat and humidity as they slosh through mosquito-infested quagmires. Local officials plead for assistance as those who can leave town... more

    The Secret Hurricane by Mike Cox
    From "Texas Tales" Column

    The Secret Hurricane of 1943
    Galveston end of Seawall 1908 old photo
    "End Of the Seawall, 1908, Galveston"
    texasoldphoto.com
    Galveston Texas bird's eye view, 1905
    Bird's eye view of Galveston in 1905
    Postcard courtesy rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
    People
  • Norris Wright Cuney by Archie P. McDonald
    Norris Wright Cuney, though born in 1846 on a plantation located near Hempstead, became a powerful figure in Texas' Republican circles, especially in Galveston. ......
    Cuney died in 1889, and is buried in Galveston. He was the most remarkable African American leader in Texas in the nineteenth century. more
  • Rabbi Cohen by Archie P. McDonald
    Rabbi Henry Cohen (1863-1952) - Rabbi of Galveston's Temple B’nai Israel, provided a place for thousands of Jewish immigrants routed through the port of Galveston.
    more
  • Heavyweight Champ Jack Johnson by Bob Bowman
    Johnson, who was born in Galveston and honed his physical skills by lifting cotton bales as a youngster in the Newton County river port of Belgrade, became the heavyweight title in 1910 when he defeated Jim Jeffries. But eight years earlier, Johnson was thrown in jail in Galveston for violating a state law banning boxing. more
  • Galveston Related Stories
  • Texas Navy vs The Press by Mike Cox
    A war of words that could have escalated into real violence broke out in the spring of 1840 between the Texas Navy and a Galveston newspaper editor.

  • What happened to Charles Francis Coghlan by Mike Cox
    His story is either one of the most incredible tales ever told, pure legend or a mixture of fact and fiction.

  • Balinese Room Cashiered by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales")
    The Texas Rangers finally succeeded in eliminating gambling at Galveston’s famed Balinese Room in 1957, but it took a Category 2 hurricane to cashier the old casino-on-a-pier once and for all. Coming ashore on Galveston Island in the predawn hours of Sept. 13, Hurricane Ike...

  • The Last Voyage of the Hotspur by W. T. Block, Jr. ("Cannonball's Tales")
    "For three centuries Spain ignored Galveston Island... On many of the oldest maps, the 25-mile-long sliver of sand did not even have a name until about 1775... Others called it "Isla de Serpientes," or Snake Island, because of the countless cotton-mouth snakes that slithered across its beaches. Elsewhere on the island, verdant marsh grasses waltzed in rhythm with the crisp ocean breezes, providing excellent forage for the large herds of deer that had swum over from the mainland... more"

  • A Steamboat’s Tale by Bob Bowman ("All Things Historical")
    "... The A.S. Ruthven, weighing 144 tons and measuring 127 feet long, was built at Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1860 by a shipyard that turned out 288 steamboats.

    While most of the steamboats were placed in service on the Ohio, Mississippi and Missouri rivers, the Ruthven came to Texas, where she was placed in service hauling cotton down the Trinity River to Galveston... more"

  • Poker by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales")
    "No matter the infrastructure that tied the island to the mainland, the residents of the city believed the bay separated them from the rest of Texas in other ways. Certain laws, particularly those dealing with gambling and prostitution, were not taken seriously in Galveston for a long time... more"

  • Juneteenth by Archie P. McDonald ("All Things Historical")
    "Most East Texans who have lived here more than at least a month of Sundays know that African Americans claim June 19, or Juneteenth, as their own special day to celebrate freedom. ...

    June 19, 1865, is the day Union General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston with the first federal troops after the Confederate Department of the Trans-Mississippi had been surrendered nearly three weeks earlier. On that day, then, Granger proclaimed the Civil War ended in Texas and all wartime proclamations in effect. This included the freeing of slaves of all persons who had remained in rebellion against the United States after January 1, 1863, which included every slave owner in Texas... more"

  • Ghost of Nicaragua Smith Still Haunts Graveyard by W. T. Block, Jr. ("Cannonball's Tales")
    If you should ever pass near the Old City Cemetery in Galveston on the night of January 8th, you might hear a screaming voice out of the ocean mists...


    Galveston Hotels >
  • More Galveston Stories & Personalities,
    See

    "Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories" columns
    Galveston, Texas, the first cotton export port of the world
    "Galveston, Texas, The First Cotton Export Port of the World"
    Postcard courtesy rootsweb.com/ %7Etxpstcrd/
    See Cotton
    Galveston bay view of paddlewheel and refineries View of the paddlewheel and refineries from Moody Gardens
    Photo courtesy of Lou Ann Herda
    Galveston Texas Forum
  • Galveston Memories
    Subject: Galveston's All Day Indoor Outings

    My dad worked at Todds Drydock on Pelican Island. He would have to catch the ferry at 22nd street to ride over to Pelican Island since the Pelican Island bridge wasn't built till the 1950's. On Saturdays my mother would give me and my sister fifty cents apiece to ride the State Theater (on 21st and Post Office Streets). We lived at 53rd and Q 1/2. We could pay admission, buy a bag of popcorn, a Coca-Cola and even candy. We'd stay all day watching cartoons, serials. and cowboy shows. Back in the late 1940's and 1950's you didn't have to worry about your safety. When we'd return from our all-day outing we would still have ten cents left over. - Margie Bennett Hill, Galveston, April 09, 2007

  • Subject: Texas City Explosion
    Dear TE, I attended 1st grade in Galveston at the Rosenberg school on 10th Street. One morning about 9:00 the whole school shook. We had a fire drill and had to go outside. Mama had made me a nice Easter dress and while we waited outside it became spattered with oil. We went back into the school and classes were dismissed for the day. I had to walk to 7th street where we lived and I found Mama in the bathroom washing clothes on a scrub board, In the afternoon we stood on the porch and looked towards Texas City where the sky was red and glowing. We lived close to St. Marys hospital where the emergency people were bringing in the injured from Texas City in the back of trucks. Later we found out [about the] explosion. That's all I remember about that terrible day.
    - Margie Bennett Hill, Manvel, Texas, April 09, 2007

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  • VINTAGE MAPS
    Showing Galveston & Galveston Island
    1920s Galveston County Texas Map
    1920s Galveston County Map
    Courtesy Texas General Land Office
    1940s Galveston County Texas Map

    1940s Galveston County Map
    Courtesy Texas General Land Office

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