Galveston History

Historical Facts About Galveston- Top 10 Things You Didn’t Know!

Wanting to go to the beach to relax or experience some amazing seafood? These are some typical things tourists do when visiting the beautiful island of Galveston.

But have you ever wondered why The Island is the way it is? What historical people and events shaped it to be what it has become today? Probably not, right?

Today we are going to go over the top 10 historical facts you didn’t know.. Hopefully, learning these facts will help you see Galveston in a whole new historical light!

  1. Before the Great Storm of 1900, Galveston was the 2nd richest city in US. The only wealthier country before the storm in that time was Newport, Rhode Island. It’s crazy to see how one natural disaster so greatly affected the wealth of the city.
  2. After the 1900 storm, a seawall was constructed to protect the city from future natural disasters. This grueling task was accomplished after 8 years to finish. The next time you visit Galveston and see the seawall, you’ll know the history behind it.
  3. Christopher Fox opened a bakery in 1938. It just so happened to be the first bakery in the state of Texas. Fox’s bakery was located on a water lot near 20th Street on the harbor behind where the Hendley Building stands today.
  4. Galveston was once the leading and most valuable port in Texas. In 1842, Galveston was given the very first cotton press in Texas. By 1899 Galveston had become the best and most profitable cotton port and one of the most important ports in the United States.
  5. Galveston just so happened to be the first city in Texas to have light. It was the first city in Texas to have lights powered from gas in 1856 and the first city to have electrical lights later in 1883. Who would have thought that Galveston would be the city to receive light first in the whole state of Texas?
  6. Galveston houses the oldest medical college in Texas. The oldest medical college in Texas opened in Galveston in 1891 which was then followed by the first nursing school in 1894. That college is today recognized as the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB).
  7. Galveston had the very first telephone in the state. It was installed in 1878 in the office of Colonel Belo, the founder of the Galveston Daily News, which is the oldest newspaper company in Texas.
  8. Galveston happens to be where the founder of condensed milk lived for a period of his life. Gail Borden is the founder of the very popular milk company: Borden. It’s interesting to know that the founder of a product we all love lived in Texas.
  9. Galveston is where the first opera house in Texas was founded. The first opera house in Texas opened in 1870 on the corner of Tremont and Market Streets. Today, the Grand 1894 Opera House used as a non-profit performing arts theatre.
  10. Galveston was named after a Spanish colonial governor and general, Bernardo de Gálvez. The city was named after him because he helped the Patriots by keep British armies and supplies away from Mississippi River in the American Revolution.

As you can see, the Island has a lot of history behind it. It was the first city in Texas to experience some of the many things we take for granted nowadays such as telephones, medical schools, lighting and operas. I hope this article helped you see the historical importance Galveston had in the overall development of Texas. Who would have thought just another small beach city would have such a huge impact in the advancement of our state!!