Menu

Texas Independence Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Galveston


Pleasure Pier, Photo by Galveston CVB

PIRATES AND HURRICANES

By the 1880’s, Galveston was the state’s largest and most prosperous city and its business district, known as the Strand, hosted a lively coastal trade. The Strand’s collection of iron-fronted buildings, considered one of the finest concentrations of 19th century commercial architecture in the nation, continues to serve Galveston visitors today. Restored and now filled with shops and restaurants, Galveston’s Strand attracts Gulf Coast visitors year round. Galveston, it seems, has often provided a strategic spot for all sorts of financial transactions, first serving as Pirate Jean Lafitte’s headquarters in 1817, as Mexican port of entry in 1825, and, after the revolution, as major seaport for cotton, manufactured goods, and immigrants in search of new opportunity. Today’s Galveston visitors can capture the feel of a thriving late 19th century seaport by boarding the Elissa, a restored, three-masted sailing barque that doubles as a floating nautical museum and docked at the Texas Seaport Museum. Galveston’s good fortunes were challenged in 1900 when a hurricane created the worst natural disaster in the history of the U.S., killing more than six thousand people as the storm surge swept the island and destroyed all but a few of the community’s structures. Visitors can explore the details in a multimedia show, also at the Texas Seaport Museum, before boarding a fixed-rail trolley and traveling between the Strand and the beach, where a seventeen-foot seawall helps protect a modern Galveston (and its historic Strand) from any future storms.  


Contact


Map