Monday, November 4, 2013

Galveston Island, Texas

We decided to stay at Jamaica Beach RV Resort as it was just east of Galveston and away from the hustle and bustle of the City. There are several RV parks in Galveston and we found this resort to be one of the best. I've posted a collage of pictures on the Big Rig Site blog, link is found on the right side of this page. Enjoy the pictures of Galveston Island.

Here's our site at Jamaica Beach RV Resort. More pictures can be found by clicking the Big Rig site elsewhere on this page.

Seawall Blvd. runs alongside the beach area of the Gulf of Mexico. We were last here in 2007 before Hurricane Ike which destroyed most of the homes along the boardwalk. Fortunately, the City was forward thinking enough to rebuild. Many new hotels now overlook the Gulf.

Since Galveston is a port city, many tankers and container ships off load here. It is a busy port established in 1825. Up until the hurricane in 1900, this port was the largest on the Gulf and second only to NYC in the U.S. After the devastation caused by the 1900 storm other ports, such as the Port of Houston, grew due in a large part to having less restrictions.

A railyard handles the movement of goods to other locations within the United States. Goods delivered and shipped to/from here include cattle, rice, oil, containers and other commodities.

The channel averages a 45' depth and is 1200' wide at it's narrowest point.

The Port is also the year-round homeport to two Carnival Cruise Line vessels. They have one Royal Carribean vessel sail from port during the Winter months and in 2013 they assigned one ship, The Navigator of the Seas, to be homeported in Galveston.

Disney Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises also now sail from the port to locations in the Caribbean and the Bahamas.

Twin residential towers overshadow a lone fisherman in the bay between the ship channel and the Gulf.

Another picture of one of Texas DOT's ferries that operate 24/7 year round, bringing passengers and vehicles across the shipping channel.

A view of the downtown area without much traffic. In all fairness, it was a Sunday afternoon.

As stated earlier, Galveston's wealth and great esteem was due in large part to the port's activity. Many stately homes were built here in the mid to late 1800's.  These homes have weathered much of Mother Nature's fury coming off the Gulf of Mexico.

By far, the worst storm to hit this area was the Hurricane of 1900. Reaching landfall on September 8, 1900 with 145mph winds it became the deadliest hurricane ever to hit the U.S. killing over 8,000 people.

These homes were but a handful of homes that survived that storm of 1900. Over 36,000 homes were destroyed by that storm. 

This is the Bishop's Palace, built in 1886 and is one of the most lavish and massive homes in the U.S. It represents a Victorian adaptation of Renaissance style.

The Landes house was built in 1877 by Henry Landes, a Confederate veteran and capitalist. During the storm of 1900 he provided shelter for over 200 residents none of which were harmed by the storm.

St. Mary's Catholic Church, built in 1892 was the largest in Texas and third largest in the southern United States, when it was completed. It is still in use today and serves over 1300 families.

Hurricane Ike in 2008 destroyed most of the old trees in the downtown Sealy District.  Many of the dead trees were "saved" as artisans plied their trade, carving statues out of the dead trunks of the trees. There is a walking tour of the area showing the locations of many of the sculptures. I've included many of these on my next blog page.

The original "pleasure pier" was built in 1943 and stretched 1,130 feet over the Gulf. It was destroyed by Hurricane Carla in 1961. 

It's replacement featured an over the water hotel, The Flagship which occupied the pier until it was destroyed by Hurricane Ike in 2008. 

The newest occupant, shown here, is a Coney Island/Venice Beach amusement park, featuring restaurants, ferris wheels and roller coasters. At $40/per person per day, we passed it up! It did look like it would be a lot of fun if you wanted to partake in most of the rides. 

Bubba Gump has a restaurant at the entrance to the Pier and there is no entrance charge to their facility. They feature outdoor seating overlooking the pier and the Gulf.

I guess if you're going to live in an area popular with hurricanes, you figure out how to withstand the high winds and seas. On this site stood a large water tower. That tower collapsed during one of the storms and while it was being dismantled, one of the owners decided to make it into living quarters. It appeared to be unoccupied and there is a "No Trespassing" sign on the front door. I would have loved to peek inside...

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