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History and Heritage of Galveston

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Despite its smaller size, Galveston has one of the most storied pasts of any other city in the nation. The island was first occupied by the Akokisa and Karankawa Indians, and then they were accompanied by a Spanish explorer who lived peacefully among them before the region was ultimately claimed by the French in the 1600s. However, it wasn’t until 1839 that Galveston was actually incorporated and subsequently became a bustling port city. Regardless of all the changes it has gone through since its beginnings, the island has never wavered from proudly staying true to its heritage.

Interesting Facts About Galveston’s History

As you learn more about Galveston’s history and heritage, you’ll be able to see the island with a new perspective and understand what makes many of its attractions so special.

  • Galveston is home to the second biggest historic preservation group in the country, marking its 145th anniversary in 2016.
  • Galveston was a significant immigration station, second only to Ellis Island.
  • Galveston has three recognized National Historic Landmarks and approximately 1,500 buildings plus four historic districts on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Galveston fell victim to one of the deadliest hurricanes in 1900, wiping out between 6,000 and 10,000 residents, making it necessary for the once thriving city to rebuild from almost scratch.

Top Historical Sites

Galveston is a city full of historical sites, but if you don’t have time to see them all, you want to make sure you don’t miss these family activities in Galveston.

  • Strand Historic District: The downtown Strand Historic District spans 36 blocks and is a prominent display of the Victorian era architecture that Galveston is known for. It is home more than 100 shops, restaurants, art galleries, and attractions.
  • Garten Verein: The Garten Verein structure was built in 1880 on a five-acre park property as part of an exclusive garden club that was formed by German businessman. It was one of a few buildings they had constructed and the only to stay standing after being pummeled by the Great Storm of 1900. After being restored, it has beautifully stood in its original spot ever since and now serves as a popular venue for weddings and other events.
  • 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA: This three-masted, iron-hulled sailing ship is likely to be the only one of its kind you’ll ever have the opportunity to get up close and personal with. The 1877 Tall Ship ELISSA is all the more significant because it is not a replica, but an actually working ship with a 90-year history of hauling cargo. It is still fully functional and is taken out into the Gulf each year for sea trials.

You will have quite a bit to consider as you decide what to include on your itinerary during your Galveston vacation, but even more importantly, you must choose the perfect place to rest at the end of a long day of sightseeing and Galveston history tours. Contact Sterling Realtors for assistance reserving a luxurious and affordable property rental.