Galveston Oh Galveston!

Galveston Oh Galveston,

“I still here your sea winds blowing…”  We’ve all heard the song but have we felt her charm and warm waves crashing. It’s one of Texas’ treasures with an abundance of things to do, places to see and some of the best dining the gulf coast has to offer.

Imagine a  Fun, Exciting, Romantic, Island over loaded  with  History. This is exactly what you will find when visiting here.  Galveston is part Southern, part Texan, covered with towering oleanders of every color, with stories 50 times bigger than this little isle herself.  Many people refer to her as a Republic of Texas, as it is so unlike Texas in her attitude and feel. 

When the Europeans first landed in 1528 it was occupied by the Akokisa and Karankawa Indians who camped, fished and hunted the swampy land and buried their dead. It was discovered by Bernardo de Gálvez, a Spanish  general. he was sent to chart the Gulf of Mexico from the Texas coast to New Orleans. In  1786, Bernado  discovered an area near the mouth of a river and named it Galveston Bay.

It’s hard to resist a town who’s first occupants were pirates. Capt  Jean Lafitte established a colony of Campeche on Galveston Island in 1817, of over a 1,000 salty scavengers. . Lafitte was eventually forced out burning his town behind him and Galveston as we know it was established, by  Samuel May Williams and ,Michel Menard among others. The homes of these early island pioneers are still standing.

 In the nineteenth century, everything in Texas was done first in Galveston.  Galveston quickly became the most active port west of New Orleans and the largest city in the state. This small island actually built the state’s first post office, first opera house, first hospital, first golf course, first country club and so much more.

 On September 8, 1900, Galveston was wiped off the map by the most deadly natural disaster in history known today as The Great Storm.

 One-third of the city was completely destroyed and the rest in shambles, 600 buildings were destroyed or left crippled uninhabitable, 6,000 people were killed, there were so many ,conventional burials were impossible..This horrific day still looms large in the island’s collective memory. The Great Storm a film documenting the events can be viewed at Pier 21 Theatre in the Strand district and  is well worth seeing.

The survivors that stayed banded together and raised the entire level of the city by eight feet, 17 feet at the Seawall, slanting the ground so water would run off into the bay. (Interesting note:   The engineering and hard work was so successful that when the next hurricane came in 1915 just as powerful  as The Great storm of 1900, the city was safe and only eight people were killed.

Once Houston dug it’s own ship channel in 1917 and with the beginning of the prohibition era , Galveston evolved into a gambling and drinking resort town. At the high end was Sam and Rose Maceo’s star-studded Balinese Room, and at the low end were numerous saloons for wayward sailors. This lasted until 1957 when the Texas Rangers raided the entire town. The island languished for years after.

Today The Magic is Back

Even after the devastating arrival of Hurricane Ike September 13, 2008

The World Famous Flagship Hotel crumbled into the sea and was replaced by The Pleasure Pier, an amusement park constructed on the same pier where she sat. We can highly recommend The Pleasure Pier from personal experience. Roller Coasters, a Ferris Wheel.  Sit in a swing and fly over the ocean over 200 ft in the air. Slide down a 44 ft water flume log ride, and so much more.

 

Need a little nature?  Head out to the local crab hole just west of east beach, or spend the day fishing at the San Luis Pass.

 

  1. Go north on a (drive on ferry) for some jetty fishing and while your there take in the sites of Crystal beach where portions of the movie Dusk Till Dawn was filmed. Motor bike rentals, jeep rentals, pedal cars, bicycles, fishing trips, jet skis, and so much more are available right on the beach  and bay fronts. Or enjoy historic downtown and The Strand, a great place to chill, shop or dine in the late afternoon or evening.

Hotels.com is actually cheeper than booking through either hotel yourself.
Here is a nice option for families that require no amenities just wedding a nice clean condo with a great pool.

 

Today’s Smile

Happy Travels!

Chris

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