Galveston and home for the holidays

OK, Ok, I know this is late, but I got swallowed by the holidays.

We took the tour from Galveston to Houston’s airport and were well rewarded.

First of all, it was amazing how Voyager could disgorge 3100 passengers in such rapid and orderly fashion. By 9 AM we were on the bus and rolling through Galveston.

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Jean Lafitte beat us there by about 190 years and named it Campeche. The little village contained huts for the pirates, a slave market, boarding houses for visiting buyers, saloons, pool halls, gambling houses and Lafitte’s own house, the “Maison Rouge.” The ruins of which still exist. At one point, Campeche was home to about 1,000 people.

With its access to ships and since Congress had not approved chartered banks, financial transactions were handled by mercantile firms. The Strand named after a street in London was filled with wholesalers cotton agents, paint, drug, grocery, hardware, dry goods stores and insurance companies. The Strand became known as the “Wall Street of the Southwest”.

Galveston‘s prosperity suddenly came to a halt on September 8, 1900, when the deadliest natural disaster in United States history hit Galveston Island. A storm with winds exceeding 120 miles per hour and tidal surge devastated the island and killed more than 6,000 people. At the time of the 1900 Storm, Galveston had a population of 37,000 and was the fourth largest city in Texas following Houston, Dallas and San Antonio and the most sophisticated city in Texas. One-third of the city was completely destroyed, more than 3,600 buildings. The bodies were too numerous for conventional burials. At first, they were weighted and buried at sea; later they washed ashore. From that point on they were burned on funeral pyres all over the city. The dead were uncovered at a rate of 70 per day for at least a month after the storm.

Now that the waterway has been extended to Houston, Galveston is dependent on tourism. Today the “Strand” is home to more than 100 shops, antique stores, restaurants and art galleries. The Strand is one of the largest and best-preserved concentrations of Victorian, iron-front commercial architecture in the country.

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And all of this from a bus window.

Our tour took us to the NASA Space center,

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then through Houston and the Houston hospital complex which has a hospital for just about anything but acne.

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I will be doing another tour of Galveston in February. This time on foot

Next entry starts this Saturday January 5th on Crystal cruises Symphony. Michael and I cruised on her inaugural voyage in 1995. Since then we’ve had 8 grandchildren. I hope Symphony has withstood the time better than what I see in the mirror.

 

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One Response to “Galveston and home for the holidays”

  1. Insurance » Galveston and home for the holidays Says:

    […] Here’s another interesting post I read today by Geoff Edwards | On Cruising […]

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