Galveston, Texas

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Galveston redirects here. For the Galveston in Indiana, see: Galveston, Indiana

Galveston is a city and island located in Galveston County, Texas. As of the U.S. Census 2000, the city had a total population of 57,247. The city is the county seat of Galveston countyTemplate:GR and is situated on the East Texas coast. Galveston is one of the principal cities of the Houston Metropolitan Area.

In 1900, the island was struck by a hurricane, an event that is still United States' deadliest natural disaster.

Galveston was known for the legendary Balinese Room, a nightclub and illegal gambling hall located on a 600 foot pier extending into the Gulf of Mexico. Today the city is home to many tourist attractions, including Moody Gardens, the Lone Star Flight Museum, a strip of historic buildings known as The Strand, many historical museums and mansions, and miles of beachfront.



In 1836, Michel B. Menard, a native of Canada, along with several associates purchased 4,605 acres (19 km²) of land for $50,000 from the Austin Colony to found the town that would become Galveston. Menard and his associates began selling plots on April 20, 1838. In 1839, the City of Galveston adopted a charter and was incorporated by the Congress of the Republic of Texas. Galveston was named after Bernardo de Gálvez, an 18th century governor of Spanish Louisiana. After 1779, when Spain entered the American Revolutionary War, Galvez recruited Spaniards, Creoles, Native Americans, and African Americans to fight against the British.

Galveston's Rise and the Hurricane of 1900

Main article: Galveston Hurricane of 1900

At the end of the 19th century, the city of Galveston was a booming metropolis with a population of 38,000. Its position on the natural harbor of Galveston Bay along the Gulf of Mexico made it the center of trade in Texas, and the largest cotton port in the nation. At that time, Galveston was known as "the New York of the South." Had it not been for the Hurricane of 1900, Galveston would likely have engulfed nearby Houston, Texas and might today have been one of the nation's largest cities.

On the evening of September 7, 1900, high winds arose, heralding the arrival of a hurricane that struck the island in the early morning of September 8 and lasted until September 9. Wind speeds reached up to 135 mph (an estimate, since the anemometer was blown off of the US Weather Bureau building). The island's infrastructure was devastated, and an estimated 6,000 to 12,000 people were killed, making the hurricane the deadliest natural disaster ever to strike the United States.

After the storm cleared, the city decided to shore up its defenses against future inclement weather — the entire grade of the city was raised and a permanent concrete "sea wall" built along a large portion of the beachfront. Just after the hurricane, the city originated the City Commission form of city government (which became known as the "Galveston Plan"), although the city has since switched to the Council-Manager form of government. Women also received greater roles in public affairs.

Despite attempts to draw new investment to the city after the hurricane, Galveston never fully returned to its former importance or prosperity. Development was also hindered by the construction of the Houston Ship Channel, which brought the Port of Houston into direct competition with the natural harbor of Galveston Bay for sea traffic.

Galveston today

The storm stalled economic development, and the city of Houston grew into the region's principal metropolis. Still, Galveston remains a port of entry and a destination for cruise ships and in-state tourists, and a port of call and repairs for cargo chips.

Galveston's historic downtown and beautiful beaches are major tourist destinations. Wealthy Houstonians and visitors from around the world purchase beach homes and condominiums and make Galveston their second home.

Other attractions in Galveston include aforementioned Moody Gardens, the Galveston Island Railroad Museum (, the Strand National Historic Landmark District, and the Lone Star Flight Museum ( Galveston is also home to several historic ships, including the tall ship Elissa at the Texas Seaport Museum (, and USS Cavalla and USS Stewart, both berthed at Seawolf Park on nearby Pelican Island.

Galveston has been the home of the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), a major teaching and indigent-care hospital which now encompasses 84 acres (340,000 m²), since 1891. UTMB is the largest employer in Galveston countyTemplate:GR, creating over 15,000 jobs and bringing about $300 million into the local economy.

There is one public high school in Galveston, Ball High School, named after George Ball. The city is also home to three post-secondary institutions: Galveston College (a junior college opened in 1967), Texas A&M University at Galveston, and University of Texas Medical Branch.

Galveston is home to a symphony orchestra [1] (http:/// and a small ballet company.

The Galveston County Daily News, the city's main newspaper, is the oldest continuously printed newspaper in Texas (since 1842).

The Jimmy Buffett song "Who's the Blonde Stranger?" is set in Galveston.


Location of Galveston, Texas

Galveston is located at 29°16'52" North, 94°49'33" West (29.281137, -94.825945)Template:GR.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 539.6 km² (208.4 mi²). 119.5 km² (46.2 mi²) of it is land and 420.1 km² (162.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 77.85% water.


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there are 57,247 people, 23,842 households, and 13,732 families residing in the city. The population density is 478.9/km² (1,240.4/mi²). There are 30,017 housing units at an average density of 251.1/km² (650.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 58.66% White, 25.49% Black or African American, 0.42% Native American, 3.21% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 9.73% from other races, and 2.41% from two or more races. 25.77% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 23,842 households out of which 26.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.6% are married couples living together, 16.9% have a female householder with no husband present, and 42.4% are non-families. 35.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.2% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.30 and the average family size is 3.03.

In the city the population is spread out with 23.4% under the age of 18, 11.3% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 21.8% from 45 to 64, and 13.7% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 93.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 90.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $28,895, and the median income for a family is $35,049. Males have a median income of $30,150 versus $26,030 for females. The per capita income for the city is $18,275. 22.3% of the population and 17.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 32.1% of those under the age of 18 and 14.2% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


See also

External links


Flag of Texas
Regions: Arklatex | Big Bend | Central Texas | Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex | East Texas | Edwards Plateau | Houston Metropolitan Area | North Texas | Northeast Texas | Piney Woods | Rio Grande Valley | Texas Hill Country | Texas Panhandle | Llano Estacado | Southeast Texas | South Texas | West Texas
Metropolitan Areas: Abilene | Amarillo | Austin-Round Rock | Beaumont-Port Arthur | Brownsville-Harlingen | College Station-Bryan | Corpus Christi | Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington | El Paso | Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown | Killeen-Temple | Laredo | Longview-Marshall | Lubbock | McAllen-Edinburg-Mission | Midland | Odessa | San Angelo | San Antonio | Sherman-Denison | Texarkana | Tyler | Victoria | Waco | Wichita Falls
See also: List of Texas counties

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