was founded in 1839, shortly after the Republic of Texas was
formed. It was built on a narrow barrier island. For 60
years, it was the principal city in the country, (later
state). A major port on the Gulf Coast, Galveston was an
economic powerhouse. Then
came the 1900 hurricane, which completely destroyed
the city and decimated its population. This changed the
course of history for the island.
storm, the city of Houston replaced Galveston as the most
important city in the state. Sixty miles farther from the
ocean, it was not subject to the same type of devastation.
Nevertheless, Galveston came back. It sports beautiful
beaches and outstanding recreational activities. Boating, fishing
and swimming attract hundreds of thousands every year.
feature large expanses of gently sloping sand where you can
walk out some places up 1/2 mile and be in gentle waters. The
seawall, erected after the 1900 storm, has prevented
the same kind of disaster, as occurred in 1900, from hitting
again. While there was massive destruction after Hurricane
Ike a few years back, most of this was from the ocean rising
9 feet over the island during the storm surge. The
seawall blocked the direct impact of the waves, but the
water came in from the other side of the island and did the
damage by inundation. The beaches have survived.
Galveston is still a port city.
While most container shipping now goes through the city of
Houston up the ship channel, Galveston hosts one of the
most active passenger ports in the country. Huge passenger
liners can be seen lining up like taxis on a New York
street, at its cruise terminal. From day trips out in the
Gulf to major excursions around the world, Galveston is
the port to use.
has many other types of ships that call on her. The Bolivar
Ferry keeps her connected to the mainland through the
Bolivar peninsula on the east side of the island. The 1877
Tall Ship Elissa is based in Galveston and open to tours on
a daily basis, docked next to the maritime
museum. A huge shrimp boat fleet keeps the restaurants
stocked with fresh catches
Moody Gardens on
the west side of the island features a paddle wheeler that
goes out into the bay between the island and the mainland.
Moody Gardens is a destination in and of itself. It has
three pyramids that house different activities. One houses a
rain forest, complete with butterflies. Another, a
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features unique architecture. Not all of it has survived
nature and time. What is there is worth the effort to
see. This includes The Strand
area. It is on the protected side of the island away
from the sea. There is bus and trolley service to get
from one side of the island to the other. The Strand
hosts numerous large events throughout the year. These
Gras and Dickens
on the Strand. Another excellent choice in the
same area is the Galveston
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