When The area which is now called Glaveston was first explored by
European settlers, the island was a Karankawa
Indian site. Pirate Jean Lafitte established the earliest
settlement in 1817. These Early years gave this city many firsts in Texas:
first Roman Catholic convent, first electric lights, and first medical college.
An extremely disastrous storm hit Galveston in 1900, The entire island was inundated during this hurricane, the storm claimed
between 5,000 to 7,000 lives. A seawall was built soon afterwards; this wall is presently
10 miles long, and has proved its staying power several times.
Galveston Island offers 32 miles of beach, and also
is a treasure trove of things historically Texan. More indepth Details are
available from the Visitor Information Centers (see below).
Many city parks, picnic areas and recreation centers offer
playground equipment, athletic fields, tennis courts, and golf courses.
Galveston is the Seat of Galveston County, a major port, tourist and
convention center, and is also the home of the University of Texas Medical Branch, Texas
A&M University at Galveston, and Galveston College.
Galveston Chamber of Commerce
Find an excellent guide to Galveston beaches, windsurfing, fishing, scuba diving, parks, golf, recreation and more. The chamber provides information for lodging, gulf coast boating, state parks and links to many local organizations. Remember to explore Texas'
"Queen City" of historic homes, buildings and historic places.
Center for Transportation and Commerce (Railroad Museum)-
Located on the once active tracks, there are over 35 vintage
railroad cars and steam engines. Historic Santa Fe depot has been restored to
1932 art deco style. The museum includes an HO-gauge working model of the Port of
Galveston with tracks, ships, and port activities. A People's Gallery with dozens of
life-sized figures (some of which "speak" to visitors) re-create a busy depot
scene of the 1930s. Six multimedia theaters present a history of Galveston
shipping, railroading, and commerce. Open daily 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.,
on Rosenberg St. at foot of the Strand. Admission.
Historic First Lutheran Church was founded in 1850; original church building was rebuilt in 1915. At 25th
and Winnie St.
First Presbyterian Church,
a magnificent Gothic structure, houses what is believed to be the oldest church
organization in Galveston, dating from Jan. 1, 1840. Present church building constructed
in 1873. At Church St. and 19th St.
Grace Episcopal Church,
founded as a mission of Trinity Church in 1874, parishioners moved into present
structure in 1895. Gothic-style building designed by architect Nicholas Clayton, Many
original furnishings including stained glass, hand-carved reredos and altar. At 36th and
Sacred Heart Catholic Church, founded 1884 was designed by a Jesuit priest in 1904 after original
church was destroyed in 1900 storm. Opposite Bishop's Palace at Broadway & 14th St.
St. Mary's Cathedral, first
Catholic cathedral in Texas, retaining original splendid architecture, built in 1848. 21st
and Church St.
Trinity Episcopal Church, built in 1857 to serve parish that was organized in 1841. Traditionally
repaired and put in use immediately after damage of1900 hurricane, never missing a
service. 22nd at Winnie St.
Colonel, Excursion Boat-
This wonderful modern triple-deck paddle wheeler recaptures the
romance and culture of 19th Century river steamboats on daily 1-hour sightseeing cruises,
morning and afternoon, of Galveston Bay and port; evening dinner cruises, and moonlight
dance cruises on Saturday nights. Sightseeing trips include interpretive narration, live
band, buffet on dinner cruises, rooms for private parties, and charter cruises. The
Colonel departs from Moody Gardens at One Hope Blvd. Cruise fee. Phone (409)740-7797.
David Taylor Classic Car Museum-
Collection divided into three categories: antiques, classics, and
muscle cars. Museum in three restored buildings emulating car dealerships of the 1930s.
There are no imports; collection is tribute to American automobile. Featured cars include
a '29 Chevrolet convertible, '37 Cord convertible, '31 Cadillac, and '55 Thunderbird. Open
daily 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 1918 Mechanic St. Admission.
Diesel ferries operate every 20 minutes between Galveston and
Port Bolivar, Texas 87. Ferries are part of Texas highway system, operated toll-free by
the Texas Department of Transportation.
Deep Sea Fishing-
Exciting varieties of food and game fish are found in Gulf
waters off Galveston Island. Fishermen may join one of the many party boats for bay or
offshore action. Many free public and commercially operated launching ramps and marinas
for private craft available. Offshore species are sailfish, marlin, ling, wahoo, king
mackerel, bonito, pompano, red snapper, warsaw, dolphin, and other "big league"
species. Reservations at Piers 18, 19 and Galveston Yacht Basin.
try their luck almost anywhere along beach; free municipal jetties and rock groin piers
are along Seawall Blvd. at 10 th, 17th, 30th, 37th, and 61st St. Commercial fishing piers
are on Seawall Blvd. at 25th, 61st, and 90th St., and at Seawolf Park on Pelican island.
Flanking ship channel between Galveston and Bolivar Peninsula are South jetty (extreme
east end of Galveston island), and North jetty (from Bolivar Peninsula). Fishermen
take flounder, speckled trout, redfish, croaker, tarpon, sheep, catfish, and other
Galveston County Historical Museum-
Displays from one of Texas' most historic cities plus variety
of changing exhibits. Housed in a former private bank building of W.L. Moody, Jr., circa
1919; especially impressive interior. Open Mon. - Sat. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Sun. noon -
4 p.m. (Extended hours Memorial Day - Labor Day.) 2219 Market St. Donations
Galveston Harbor Tours-
Board the MV Seagu11 for a 45-minute, narrated boat tour of
the Port of Galveston. Get a close-up look at the working waterfront and local marine
life. Special bird-watching cruises available. Departs from Pier 22 at the north end of
22nd St. Schedule varies. Fee charged.
Galveston Island Beach-
Thirty-two miles of sand beach washed by Gulf of Mexico.
Within city, beach is edged by hotels, condos, restaurants, and amusement
attractions. Camping is permitted in designated areas and commercial facilities
only, and at Galveston Island State Park. Parking fees are charged at certain beach
recreation areas; free parking available elsewhere along the 32-mile beach-front.
Galveston Island Outdoor Musicals-
1,700-seat outdoor theater in Galveston Island State Park alternates
Broadway musicals nightly except Sun. from early June through late Aug. Shows 8 p.m.; free
park admission for theater-goers. Dinner is available 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. show nights.
Six miles south on FM. 3005 at 13 Mile Rd. 409/737-3440. Admission.
Galveston Island State Park-
Spanning Galveston island from Gulf to bay, the 1,935-acre park
includes much salt marsh rich in bird life. Viewing from elevated boardwalks and
observation platforms. Campsites with hookups, dump station, screened shelters, rest rooms
and showers. Picnicking, fishing, swimming, and nature trail. From early June through late
August outdoor musicals are presented nightly except Sun. Six miles south on FM. 3005 at
13 Mile Rd. Admission.
Galveston Yacht Basin-
With complete marina services, the yacht harbor provides
slips for hundreds of pleasure craft... an elegant sight! Boaters find gas, repair and
mechanical services, fishing tackle and bait shops, radar weather reports, and 24-hour
An octagonal structure, circa 1870, still in use as city recreation
building, Victorian accents evident in trim of two picturesque roof levels. City park at
27th St. & Ave. 0.
The Great Storm-
Award-winning, multi-image presentation using historic photographs
and special effects to re-create the aftermath of the 1900 hurricane which devastated
Galveston. The 27-minute program shows on the hour: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Sun. -
Thurs.; 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Fri. & Sat. Pier 21 at north end of 21st St.
Historic Homes and Buildings-
As Texas' earliest prominent city, literally scores of
fascinating historic structures were built by sea captains, merchants, businessmen, and
prominent officials. Among most notable are:
The showplace of Galveston Historical Foundation in restored 1859
Italianate house-museum reflecting opulence of era in carved moldings, elaborate
mantel-work, and lavish furnishings. Guided tours include the ornate Gold Room and elegant
family quarters upstairs. Open Mon. - Sat. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Sun. noon - 4 p.m.
2328 Broadway. Admission.
Probably Galveston's most celebrated landmark, is state's only
structure on list of nation's 100 outstanding buildings by American Institute of
Architects. "Palace" was built as private home by Col. Walter Gresham in 1886,
purchased 1923 for the bishop of Galveston Houston Diocese. Showplace furnishings include
mantel that was first-prize winner at 1876 Philadelphia World's Fair, Venetian crystal
chandelier, damask wall coverings from London, and grand staircase of rosewood, satinwood,
and mahogany. Open daily noon - 4 p.m., Memorial Day through Labor Day Mon. - Sat.
10 a.m. - 4:45 p.m.; Sun. noon - 4:45 p.m. 1402 Broadway. Admission.
Was a primary artillery defense installation built 1897. Closed in
1947, several buildings remain in use by Galveston College, Texas A&M Univ. at
Galveston, and National Marine Fisheries Service. Massive coastal artillery bunkers can
still be seen, but most have been incorporated into the foundation of the nearby hotel and
conference center. Seawall Blvd. between 45th and 53rd St.
Grand Opera House-
Performing arts hall built in 1894. This is a multimillion dollar
restoration returning the ornate structure to its original grandeur. This magnificent and
historic theater has showcased such theatrical icons as John Philip Sousa, Helen Hayes, and
more recently, Gregory Hines. The Texas 73rd Legislature named it the "Texas Official Opera
House." Stage productions are frequently scheduled; open daily for self-guided tours.
2020 Post Office St.
Moody Mansion and Museum-
Historic home built circa 1892. This structure is a prime
example of transitional Victorian architecture. It is the former home and center of the
business empire of Texas entrepreneur W.L. Moody, Jr. He lived here
from 1900 until his death in 1954. With a steel frame, construction is of red brick,
Texas limestone and terra cotta tile. The interior includes stained glass, custom-designed
carved woods, tile work, fancy plaster work, and stencils in 42 rooms covering 28,000
square feet! Collections include antiques, silver, photographs, and other works of art.
Gift shop, Self-guided tour. Open Mon. - Sat. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Sun. I p.m. - 4:30
p.m. Closed on Mon. Jan. Mar. At 2618 Broadway. Admission.
Circa 1847, is showplace of Galveston Garden Club. Graceful Greek
Revival structure fronted by 40-foot Doric columns, hand-hewn from Maine pine and shipped
to Texas by schooner. Guided tours are Sat. at 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. 3427
Ave. 0. Admission.
Once known as the the "Wall Street of the Southwest," the
Starnd is one of the finest concentrations of 19th-Century iron-front commercial buildings
in the U.S. Lined with gaslights, now restored and readapted, the Strand features art
galleries and studios, specialty shops, restaurants, pubs, delicatessens, historic
exhibits, and even an old-fashioned candy factory. Often site of annual city festivals,
especially "Dickens on The Strand" each Dec., and Mardi Gras celebrations in
early spring. National Historic Landmark District is on Strand and Mechanic St. between
20th and 25th St. The Strand Visitors Center rents (for a fee) tape players with recorded,
one-hour walking tours describing the history and architecture of the historic district.
Start tour with information from Strand Visitor Information Center (see below).
Lone Star Flight Museum-
The golden age of aviation is recalled by more than two dozen
vintage aircraft, from a meticulously restored B-17 Flying Fortress to spindly liaison
aircraft. There's a "razorback" P-47 Thunderbolt, a P-38 Lightning, a Spitfire,
plus other bombers, trainers, and wartime "executive" aircraft, all in flying
condition. There's also the Conoco Hall of Power, with historic engines, photos, air
combat memorabilia, and wartime vehicles. Open daily, 10 a.m. - 5
p.m. except four major holidays. 2002 Terminal Dr. (at Scholes Field Municipal
Mardi Gras Museum-
Several colorful exhibits use historic costumes, crown jewels
and memorabilia to tell the story of Galveston's carnival celebrations. Open noon
- 6 p.m. Wed. - Sun. Closed Mon. & Tues. 2211 Strand, third floor. Admission.
156-acre eight phase project of Moody
Foundation. These Facilities are currently open and waiting for your visit:
This Magnicicent modern structure rises 10 stories. It represents
the tropical rain forests of: Asia, Africa,
and South America, A
unique opportunity to experience the exotic and raw beauty of rain forests. Wonderful
butterflies abound among waterfalls, cliffs, caverns, Mayan
Colonnade, and an ever-changing array of tropical plants. Clear, blue pools
are filled with tropical fish, quiet ponds with exotic wading birds. Bat Cave turns night
into day so visitors are able to see 60 fruit bats behind large glassed-in cave. Open
Mon. - Thurs. 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Fri. - Sat. 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Nov. - Feb.; daily 10 a.m. -
9 p.m. during summer. Admission.
IMAX Theater Visitor Center-
A wonderful overpowering film theater that projects 3D movies on a 6-story screen.
Within the complex is a Visitor Center and Gardens Restaurant overlooking Gulf waters and
a nightly presentation of Dancing Waters.
Texas' only white sand beach with freshwater swimming lagoons, whirlpools, volleyball, a 400' pier/dock,
and paddle boats. Yellow Submarine and
Octopus Slide features 30-ft. submarine with fully operational periscope, water gun, and
dive horn. Octopus is three slippery slides with stairways in the creature's arms. Open
weekends in May, daily mid-May Labor Day. (409)744-PALM Admission.
Moody Gardens Convention Center-
Multipurpose convention and conference center set in tropical
surroundings. Located on One Hope Blvd. at municipal airport. Formal gardens, Japanese
Garden of Life, Vietnam Memorial, Hope Rose Garden, Horticulture Terraces, the Vineyard,
plus nature- walking trails.
The largest is Stewart
Beach Park on Seawall Blvd. at Broadway, offering
pavilion, beach service, bath houses, restaurants, concessions, with attractions such as
mini-golf, water slides, and bumper boats.
R. A. Apffell Park, east
of Stewart Beach at Boddecker Dr., is wide beach with boat launching, jetty and surf
fishing, bath house, concessions, and rest rooms.
Dellanera Beach Park offers beach activities, RV hookups, showers, rest rooms, picnic area,
grocery store, and laundry room. West of Seawall on F.M. 3005.
Three "pocket" parks are along F.M. 3005 and offer beach front picnic areas, rest rooms, and
playgrounds. They are on 7 1/2 Mile Rd., 9 1/2 Mile Rd., and 11 Mile Rd.
Just across the channel from the Port of Galveston. Pelican
Island is the site of industrial and recreational development, Todd Shipyards Corp., and Texas
A&M University at Galveston on south edge. On northern point is Seawolf
Park (see below) where port's federal quarantine station once stood. Scenic location edged
by palms and banks of oleanders with picnic facilities and excellent fishing.
Port of Galveston-
First major port in Texas, was commercial link of The former Republic of Texas with the rest
of the world. For years Galveston was Texas' largest city. This modern port now handles
ships from all over the world. Unique in operation, it is the nation's only port where all
facilities, from railroad switching to crating and labeling of individual items, are
coordinated under one management. So successful is this unique operation that Galveston is
the only major port facility in the
entire United States not supported by public funds. Visitors will be fascinated by the Fisherman's Wharf
area along Ave. A between 17th and 23rd St. Fish markets, seafood restaurants, and
charter/group boat docks.
Texas' first free public library,
contains many original manuscripts and letters of Samuel May Williams, Sam Houston,
Stephen F. Austin, and other prominent figures in Texas history. Rare books, artifacts,
art collection. Open Mon. - Sat. 9 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Sun. I - 5 p.m. Aug. - May.
Closed Sun. June - July. 2310 Sealy Ave.
Picturesque location provides close look at ocean-going vessels
entering and departing port and yacht basin. Excellent fishing from commercially operated
pier. Striking three-level pavilion with snack bar; picnic facilities and children's
playground. Main attraction is naval exhibit featuring tours of WW II submarine USS Cavalla,
destroyer escort USS Stewart, Navy jet, and military vehicles. Open
daily on Pelican Island. Admission.
Texas Heroes Monument-
Gift to State of Texas by Galveston philanthropist Henry Rosenberg,
commemorates great achievements of men and women of Texas. It is 74 feet high, 34 feet
square, with four monolithic granite columns rising to support 22-foot bronze figure of
"Victory." Erected in 1900, stands at intersection of Broadway and Rosenberg
Texas Seaport Museum-
Home of the Elissa square-rigged, 400-ton barkentine
built in Scotland in 1877. A visitor to Galveston during her sailing/working days, Elissa
has returned as a museum of 19th-Century maritime technology. Opened in 1982 after
eight years of restoration. Open daily 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. (extended
hours in summer), Elissa is sometimes away from Galveston sailing. Check
locally for dockside schedule. Museum also includes two wide-screen theater
presentations on legends and lore of the sea and the restoration of the Elissa. Visitors
with an interest in geneology have access to a computer database containing information on
more than 130,000 immigrants who entered Texas through the Port of Galveston. Pier 21 at
north end of Kempner (22nd) St. Admission.
Besides tours cited previously, other specialized tours for
individuals and groups are available as follows: (details from Visitor Information
Centers) Carriage and buggy rides are available throughout The Strand Historic District;
Treasure Isle Tour Train operates on regular schedule from 2106 Seawall Blvd., touring
both old and new sites on Galveston Island in the little train with the fringe on top. Schedule
varies. Inquire locally. Literature and directions for self-guided historic
tours are provided free at Visitor Information Center and Strand Visitors Center
Nostalgic trolley cars connect the beach at seawall to the historic
Strand/Bay area. Replicas of 1900 vintage cars glide for 4 1/2 miles along tracks
much like those in city's early days, Schedule posted along route,
Visitor Information Centers-
Details on activities, events, tours, recreation facilities and historic
sites; free maps and literature. In Moody Civic Center, Seawall Blvd. at 21st St., and
also in the Strand Historic District at 2016 Strand.