In the late 1800’s and early 1900’s Galveston, Texas was a major port for cotton exchange and a place for the wealthy to come sun bathe by the ocean. Little did the town of 37K residents know all of that would change on September 8, 1900. Without much warning, a hurricane blew through and over Galveston, wiping out much of the homes and businesses. Over 6000 men, women and children were lost during the 1900 storm. However, many of buildings in the Strand Historical District survived. Several of those buildings are still standing in the Strand to this day!
The City of Galveston raised the land and built a Seawall to ensure damage seen from “The Storm” wouldn’t be seen again. They raised many of the buildings up with jacks while they pumped sand in to raise the elevation. The Seawall did its job in on September 12, 2008 when Hurricane Ike made landfall in Galveston. While the property damage was still extensive, the loss of life was kept as low as possible thanks to early warnings/evacuations and the work done to the city 100 years ago.
My Father and I hadn’t been to The Strand since Ike had come through, so we decided to make a trip to Galveston to see how the town had recovered.
Since many of the buildings survived the 1900 Storm and Hurricane Ike, the layout of The Strand still had the “Old Town” feel. The buildings are built of beautiful brick and stand multiple stories tall.
Among the older buildings you will see some modern buildings and upgrades. For example, there is a small museum in Old Galveston Square that brings in exhibits from time to time.
My father and I stopped by the D-Vine Winery that was tucked between some of the older buildings. While the building was small, it would be a nice place to eat a sandwich or do some wine tasting on a Saturday afternoon.
Of course, any town center wouldn’t be complete without an ice cream parlor!
After spending the afternoon on the main strip of the Strand, Dad and I decided to walk a few streets over and find the 1984 Opera House. The Opera House is still operational, bringing plays, comedians, and many musical groups to Galveston throughout the year. The back of the building was wiped out during the 1900 Storm, but the front still stands as originally built having been restored in 1974.
While there weren’t as many open stores as I remember from my youth, it is obvious that the City of Galveston is working to rebuild from Hurricane Ike’s aftermath to become a great tourist stop again. Galveston’s Strand Historical District is a great place for couples or families to spend some time out in the sun and enjoying some of Texas’ history!