Saturday, August 1, 2015

Galveston House Series and a Little History

Hello World!  I'm so excited to show you the ton of pictures I took of the gorgeous historical houses down on Galveston Island.  All of these pictures were taken with my phone.  I opted to not take down the "big" camera so I could have less stuff to lug around.

Since Hurricane Ike (which was a Category 4 storm) blew through in 2008, the city of Galveston has been on a major push to restore and rejuvenate their precious island and city.  This year, I could really notice their efforts.  The beaches were much cleaner as well as the neighborhoods and commercial areas.  I was amazed by how many houses not only survived Hurricane Ike, but survived, Hurricanes Alicia, Carla, and the Great Storm of 1900.  The Great Storm of 1900 (this was prior to the naming of hurricanes) demolished Galveston Island.  The winds and storm surge bulldozed houses and businesses flat for up to 15 blocks from the beach. 

In the years before the Great Storm of 1900, Galveston was one of the wealthiest cities in the country.  Galveston became the most important seaport of Texas due to its natural deepwater channel.  Trains carried cargo to and from the port, and ships traveled across the seas.  At the time of the Great Storm, more than 70% of the country's cotton crop passed through the port of Galveston and some 1,000 ships called on the port annually. 

The city was home to about 37,000 people. Galveston, with its wealth and prosperity, was home to numerous firsts for the state, such as first electricity and first telephones. 

It is estimated that 6,000 people died in the Great Storm of 1900.  After the storm, for the most part, the remaining residents stayed and came up with a plan to rebuild the city and island they so loved.  This is when the seawall was constructed.

The city leader's Seawall Plan was to prevent future flooding.  The elevation of the city was raised about 16 feet at the seawall and gradually sloped toward the bay. The slope dropped one foot in elevation for every 1,500 feet from the beach.

More than 2,100 buildings were raised on jacks. The elevation of the land beneath them was raised by pumping in sand from the bay.

In 1901, area businessmen began to raise money to build the Hotel Galvez as a symbol of the prosperity that had returned to Galveston since the storm a decade before.

This was our first time staying at the Hotel Galvez.  It is a splendid hotel steeped in history.  And, no, I didn't see any ghosts.  Here are some shots of the Hotel Galvez as it looks today.  If you follow me on Instagram, I snapped a picture of the beefed up crown moulding that was in our room.  Gorgeous!

The Hotel Galvez was built for $1 Million after the Great Storm of 1900.  She is referred to as the Queen of the Gulf.  The hotel first opened its doors on June 10, 1911 at 6pm.  Hotel rooms were $2 per night in 1911.  The Spa at the Hotel Galvez was built in 2008 and an $11 Million Centennial Renovation took place in 2011. 

She is definitely a sight to behold!  We throughly enjoyed our stay there and I personally loved going down to the lower level of the hotel which houses the hotel's Hall of History depicting her creation out of the rubble of the Great Storm of 1900.  

Okay, now that the history lesson is done, let's look at one of the houses that survived the Great Storm of 1900.  I know this post is getting long, but do not worry.  I have broken up the House Series into several posts to give each group of houses their time to shine.  

The above home was built in 1895 and was the former Letitia Rosenberg Home for Aged Women.  It is currently privately owned.  We could not get shots of all sides of the property due to the hedges.  But, do not be fooled, this place is massive.  Public records show this place to be 13,710 square feet.  My pictures do not do this place justice at all.  It is gorgeous in person and a little on the intimidating side. 

If time permits before school starts, I would like to drive down to Galveston for the day and basically wander the streets with my good camera in hand.  

I hope you enjoyed the first house as well as the mini history lesson.  Let me know your thoughts and especially if any of you have toured any of the Galveston Mansions.  I would love to hear about your experience. 

Click the links below for any posts you may have missed:

Anything Blue Friday
Historical Information and Photos of the Great Storm of 1900 from:
Hotel Galvez Information and Photos from:

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