Galveston, TX Historic Strand District, Harbor & Tourism
There is so very much to do and see in Galveston, Texas! This post will feature the historic Strand area of downtown as well as the harbor, shrimp boats, fishing and more.
Did you know that Galveston is also known as the City of Oleanders? Oleander flowers can be viewed on a profusion of shrubs growing in many places for long periods of time on that Island City by the Gulf of Mexico.
Come along for a scenic tour with pictures and YouTube videos as you’ll get yet another look at Galveston.
If this tickles your fancy, be sure and view the other Galveston posts that have been written showing other points of interest and different features of this City of Galveston, TX.
Oil Drilling Rigs in Galveston
There are a number of active oil drilling rigs based in the nearby as well as further offshore areas of Galveston.
Some can be seen in the distance as one gazes out at the Gulf of Mexico waters from the shore. Others are close enough to take pictures of as in the photo below.
There is even a non-operational oil rig platform that is now open to the public as a museum called the Ocean Star. It is located on Harborside Drive near the historic downtown Strand area in Galveston. By visiting this museum one can acquire knowledge about how oil is acquired by the people operating these rigs. Generally this is done safely and with efforts to protect the environment.
The Port of Galveston was established in 1825 going back to the days when Texas was still a part of Mexico.
During the Texas Revolution it served as a main port for the Texas Navy.
Today tonnage of various commodities is moved through this port although much more of it goes to and from Houston since the Houston Ship Channel was dredged out bringing transoceanic ships further inland.
Still it serves as one of the commercial port cities on the Gulf of Mexico and also serves as a port for cruise ship lines.
We have friends who have regularly sailed out of the Port of Galveston on cruises to different destinations.
Enjoy a Port of Houston tour in the video below. The sound starts after 30 seconds. It is very informative!
The Historic Strand
Let’s take a look at some of these magnificent buildings starting with the Stewart Building.
A Texas Historical Plaque posted near the building states the following:
“THE STEWART BUILDING
Julius Kauffman (1856-1935) and Julius Runge (1851-1906), second generation owners of a commission firm established in 1842, had architect Eugene T. Heiner design this Renaissance Revival building in the North Italian mode. Contractor Robert Palisser completed the structure in 1882. Then known as the world’s foremost cotton exporters and the initiators of coffee imports from Brazil, Kauffman-Runge also brought significant numbers of settlers to Texas. They housed commodities on the building/s ground floor, and had offices above. Many highly-respected Galveston firms had business quarters here.
In 1905 the property was bought by Maco Stewart (1871-1938), who redesigned the interior to create a gallery effect with an arched skylight on the top floor. A foresighted, dynamic lawyer, Maco Stewart in 1908 founded Stewart Title Guaranty Company, now (1978) the largest title firm in Texas. Throughout expansion across the United States, it continuously had offices in this structure of its origin.
Stewart Title Company has restored the building, replacing the ornate cornice which had previously been missing since the famous 1900 Galveston Storm.”
The Trueheart-Adriance building today is utilized by the Junior League of Galveston. A historic plaque on the building says the following:
“Designed in Neo-Renaissance, High Victorian style by Nicholas J. Clayton, noted architect, for H.M. Trueheart & Co., first chartered Realty firm in Texas, founded by John O. Trueheart in 1857.
H.M. Trueheart joined his father in 1866, admitted John Adriance as a partner in 1871, and built this structure in 1882.
After H.M. Trueheart retired in 1906, the firm continued through 1953 as John Adriance & Sons.”
In 2002 I created a linocut of this historic building limited to 85 hand printed, numbered and signed prints.
Perimeter Art Gallery has this print for sale plus many more of my linocuts, lithographs and other art. They will soon be updating their website to show more.
Hutchings, Sealy & Co. Buildings
This is another stunning beauty in The Strand which is an area consisting of 36 square blocks.
A Texas Historical Commission plaque tells the following story:
“Four decades after joining in partnership, George Ball, John Henry Hutchings, and John Sealy employed prominent Galveston architect Nicholas J. Clayton to design office building for their Ball, Hutchings & Co. Commission and Banking operations. Built in 1895 as two individual but connected structures, these buildings complemented Galveston’s Strand Avenue, known at the time as the “Wall Street of the Southwest.”
The buildings’ Renaissance Revival style is represented by the heavily rusticated stone arches featured on its entryways, terra cotta detailing on the parapets and entablatures, evenly spaced columns and pilasters, elaborate stone cornice, and arcading windows. The foundation walls are six feet wide at the base and made of pressed brick with ashlar patterned sandstone facing.
The corner building, which features the name “Hutchings” on its entablature, was originally constructed for John H. Hutchings. The adjoining office building, featuring the name “Sealy” on its entablature, was built for John Sealy. These majestic buildings are reminders of a grand era in Galveston’s history and the philanthropic legacy of these early businessmen.”
Dickens on the Strand
An annual event which is just one of many in Galveston, Texas has revelers from all over coming to experience “Jolly Old England” from back in the days when Charles Dickens was alive.
They have parades, floats, people dressed up in period costumes and much music and food.
It is always held in early December and people come from far and wide to join in the fun and excitement.
Is Galveston a party city or what!
Prior to the beginning of Lent leading up to Easter each year a massive Mardi Gras celebration is held in Galveston. They have had over 100 years of back to back festivities!
This is another time Galveston fills with tourists hungry for gala merrymaking, parades and people hoping to catch and add to their bead collection being tossed from atop storefronts and passing floats.
It is a carnival atmosphere extraordinaire!
City of Galveston
Galveston, Texas contains much history for this part of the world. Obviously there are many attractions which draw people to visiting as well as living on this beautiful island.
From proximity to the water whether just to lay on the beaches absorbing a few rays of the sun, or to enjoy surfboarding, boating, or fishing…it is all there ready and waiting.
Wish to take a cruise? No problem! You can take a cruise lasting just a few days or longer from this convenient departure port.
The Strand is filled with restaurants, shops, art galleries and more enticing you to leave a little of your money behind.
Museums and historic houses and churches can be toured. The list could go on and on. Suffice it to say that if you are seeking a fun place in which to vacation, Galveston, Texas is certain to please.
Come on down y’all! Enjoy some good Galveston, Texas hospitality! Be sure to watch the video below if you are planning a vacation visit to this wonderful island.
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