Friday, June 10, 2016

Galveston, Texas: A City with a History


There are so many cities and towns in Texas that own a piece of my heart. Galveston is but one of them. My first trip to the island was in 1965 when I was a junior at Sam Houston High School. I was a member of Vocational Industrial Training of America, and our class went there to participate at the State Conference.



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Galveston Arial View
You can imagine the fun we had with our first major trip away from home. I think there were eight of us along with our teacher, Mr. Kenneth Pickett, one other teacher I think, and my mother as chaperone. If memory serves, I think my younger brother tagged along, too. We stayed on Seawall Boulevard just across the street from the Gulf of Mexico and the beach.


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Galveston Beach


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Galveston Beach

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The Flagship Hotel




A main attraction for many years was the Flagship Hotel which was built out on a pier into the Gulf. We stayed there once when our kids were small. Unfortunately, it didn't survive Hurricane Ike in 2008.




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Pleasure Pier Present Day





Now they've built a Pleasure Pier with rides and games for tourists.





I'm currently writing another book set in Galveston And I've discovered there were earlier places on the beach for fun and games called The Pavilion, Murdoch's Pavilion, Bath Houses, many of which were destroyed either by fire or hurricanes.

Designed by Nicholas Clayton, the Electric Pavilion at 23rd and the beach became the earliest major beach attraction when constructed in 1881 by the Galveston City Railway Company.  The wood frame building is believed to be the first use of electric lights in Texas.  It was a popular spot for two years before burning on August 1, 1883.  (Courtesy Scott and Holly Hansen, Private Collection).:
The Electric Pavilion 1883

Before the 1900 Hurricane, Galveston was so lush and plush, it was thought of as the Wall Street of the South. Galvestonians liked to call their city the Coney Island of the South. The devastating Hurricane changed all that.

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Over six thousand souls were lost on September 8th and 9th, 1900. The island was lost. In order to prevent this devastation from happening again, the people of Galveston built a seawall. Construction began in 1902 and the initial segment completed in 1904. From 1904 to 1963 the wall was extended from 3.3 miles to over 10 miles long. 

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After Hurricane Alicia in 1983, the Corp of Engineers estimated that  $100 million in damage was avoided because of the Seawall.


My characters, Faith and Joe, are not the first that I've put through the trials and tribulations of severe storms. Joe's father and step-mother, Ian and Matelyn O'Donnell Benning struggled to survive during the 1875 Galveston Hurricane, in my book, Matelyn and the Texas Ranger. Joe and Faith will have to deal with the aftermath of the 1900 Hurricane, sometimes referred to as Isaac's Storm, and we'll see how they do.




I have an e-book of Matelyn and the Texas Ranger for one commenter, so if you'd like to read about Joe's family before his book comes out this summer, talk to me. Don't leave me lonely down here all by myself.  =D

Thanks for stopping by,
Carra

11 comments:

  1. Carra, I'm eager to read the next adventure in the Benning family. So glad you're continuing the family saga. Don't count me in the contest, because you know I've read MATELYN AND THE TEXAS RANGER.

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    1. Caroline, yes you did. Your critique helped shape the story! I'd like for you to read Joe and Faith's story. You are my inspiration and your approval is important to me.
      Carra

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    2. Galveston has such a unique history. All those fabulous vintage mansion are outstanding (doesn't Kathleen live in one of those? Surely she does..she's the Queen of Galveston. I love all your photos, old and new. In my book with PRP Wish For The Moon, the hero is a young man in 1900 who lived on Galveston Island, as did all his family. His father was a newspaper man. In the story, the father sends my hero--Max Landry--to the mainland to pick up the younger brother coming home from college. While he was there, the hurricane took every single family member he had, including the brother inland because the train got washed off the tracks. We had visited Galveston not long before that--for the third time, and I visited more than one small museum with fabulous photos.
      I'll read your book--can you send a pdf? I can email it to my Kindle.
      Good luck with your release. And thanks for a great post.

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    3. P.S. If you have a visitor you want to give the book to, go ahead. I can get it later. Celia

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    4. Celia, I love Galveston as I said in the post. I sent you a pdf to your email. If you'd rather have one from Amazon, let me know. Thank you for wanting to read it. Carra

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  2. I'd love to visit Galveston. My hubby and I lived in Dallas the first two years of our marriage but were too poor to do any traveling. That was thirty-one years ago. Since we're up north now, perhaps a winter trip will be in order to avoid some of the cold.

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    1. Sounds good, Janie. I think you would enjoy it. There's so much history there. Wonderful places to eat, too!

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  3. Enjoyed the post. Galveston is definitely on my bucket list.

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    1. Alisa, I hope you make it there to visit. You will love it!

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    2. Congrats, Alisa, you are the winner of an ecopy of, MATELYN AND THE TEXAS RANGER. Please email me your email for Amazon and I'll send you a gifted copy!

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    3. Alisa, that email is, texasauthor1@yahoo.com =)

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