2000 Census - 57,247
Galveston Texas History:
Galveston is located on a natural harbor on the northeast end of Galveston Island, a barrier island located 2 miles offshore in the Gulf of Mexico. Karankawa Indians inhabited the islands seasonally. The island was probably the location of the 1528 shipwreck landing of Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca. In 1785, while charting the Texas coast, José de Evia named Galveston Bay in honor of Bernardo de Gálvez. In 1816 Louis Aury established a naval base at the harbor to support the revolution in Mexico. While Aury was away launching an unsuccessful attack against the Spanish in Mexico, Jean Laffite set up a pirate camp called Campeachy. Laffite was forced to evacuate the island in 1821. Mexico declared the island a port of entry in 1825 and established a custom house in 1830. Following the Civil War, Michel B. Menard and a group of investors purchased 4,605 acres at the harbor, platted the town of Galveston, and began selling town lots on April 20, 1838. Galveston incorporated in 1839. The busy port enabled Galveston to grow. The city was a stop for oceangoing vessels and coastal steamers running through Galveston Bay and Buffalo Bayou to Houston. In 1860, the Galveston, Houston and Henderson Railroad built a bridge to the island. During the Civil War Union ships blockaded the port and briefly occupied the town. In 1870, Galveston has 13,818 residents and was the largest city in Texas. Galveston was the first city to use electric lighting, had the first telephone system, and hosted the first baseball game in the state. By 1900, other Texas cities’ growth outpaced Galveston’s causing the city to slip to 4th place in size. During the late 1800s Galveston’s buildings, especially those designed by architect Nicholas J. Clayton, were some of the finest buildings of the time. Today the town boasts many beautiful historic churches. In 1881, Galveston was elected to become the home of the first state medical school. The Grand Opera House was built in 1894. A coast guard station was built in 1897, and Fort Crockett was established in 1897, and closed in 1957. Galveston was decimated by the Great Hurricane of 1900. The hurricane had wind gusts of 120 miles per hour, flooded the city, battered homes and buildings with floating debris, and killed an estimated 6,000 people on the island. Another 4,000 to 6,000 people died on the nearby coast. As a result, the city and county constructed a seventeen-foot seawall on the Gulf side of the island, raised the grade level, and built an all-weather bridge to the mainland. Today Galveston’s economy is based on its tourist industry, its port, and the University of Texas Medical Branch. It has wonderful museums, theaters, incredible beaches, great seafood, great annual events, and serves as a cruise ship port. Galveston is located on Galveston Island in the Gulf of Mexico at the eastern end of U.S. 45 (Galveston Causeway or Galveston Freeway) which becomes SH 87 (Broadway Boulevard) in Galveston. It is located 71 miles southwest of Anahuac, 50 miles southeast of Houston, 35 miles southeast of La Port, 41 miles northeast of Surfside Beach, Texas.
The nomadic Karankawa Indians lived along the Texas Gulf Coast from the western end of Galveston Island to Corpus Christi. Many warriors were over 6 feet tall. Men wore their hair to their waists. They were heavily tattooed and wore shell ornaments. They pierced each nipple and their bottom lip with small pieces of cane. They greased their bodies with shark liver oil to ward off mosquitoes and other insects. During the summer months they survived by moving inland and hunting with long bows. During the winters they fished and crabbed the coastal bays in dugouts. They lived in round huts made with thatch and animal skins. The Indians had varied experiences with Anglos though in the end their population was decimated through warfare and diseases caught from Anglos. The Indians helped Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca when he was shipwrecked on Galveston Island in 1528. After French explorers under LaSalle stole two canoes from the Karankawa and refused to return them, the Karankawa engaged them in battle; the Indians won. The Karankawa were not cannibals. Though they did sometimes eat captured enemies, they did not do this for food, but rather to absorb the magic powers of the enemy.
Galveston County Courthouse, 2006:
This concrete, brick and stone courthouse was designed in modern style by Bay Architects. The Galveston County 2010 census was 291,309. The courthouse is located at 600 59th Street, just north of Broadway Avenue (U.S. 75/SH 87). (409) 762-8621.
Village of Tiki Island:
The small incorporated Village of Tiki Island is located off the north end of the Galveston Causeway (IH-45) in Jones Bay. It is located 5 miles southeast of La Marque, approximately 6 miles south of Texas City, and 5 miles southwest of Galveston, Texas. This largely resort community has approximately 850 homes, and 1,200 full time residents. It is served by the Galveston Post Office. City Hall: (409) 935-1427.