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Galveston and the Texas Seaport Museum

Architectural History Mobility Maritime Museums Historic Ships and the Texas Navy

Galveston is located on Galveston and Pelican Islands on the Gulf Coast. It was the main port of the Texas Navy and later served as the capital of Texas. During the 19th century, Galveston was a commercial center, the largest city in Texas and a major port in America. The city’s six historic districts include:

The Silk Stocking District with historic homes constructed from the Civil War through World War II;

The East End on both sides of Broadway and Market Streets, contains 463 buildings;

The Strand is home to Victoria era buildings that have been adapted for use as restaurants, antique stores, historical exhibits, museums and art galleries. Today, it is generally used to refer to the five-block business district between 20th and 25th streets in downtown Galveston, near the city’s wharf, that hosts the yearly Mardi Gras festival, Galveston Island Jazz & Blues Festival and Dickens on the Strand, a Victorian-themed Christmas festival in early December.

Ashton VillaAshton Villa is a red-brick Victorian Italianate home constructed in 1859 by James Moreau Brown. One of the first brick structures in Texas, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a recorded Texas Historic Landmark. The structure is also the site of what was to become the holiday known as Juneteenth where, on June 19, 1865, all slaves in Texas were emancipated. Galveston’s modern architecture includes the Rainforest Pyramid at Moody Gardens.

The Preservation Resource Center assists in learning about Galveston’s architectural history through property research, neighborhood information, and technical rehabilitation guidance.  It welcomes owners and prospective owners of historic properties, newcomers to Galveston, real estate agents, contractors, students, and preservation professionals.

Galveston Victorian HomesThe Story of Mobility in America

Maritime Museums in Historic Towns

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A deep-water channel connects the harbor with the Gulf and the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway

Galveston is the number one cruise port on the Gulf Coast and fourth in the United States. It is also home to several historic ships: the tall ship Elissa berthed at the Texas Seaport Museum, the USS Cavalla and Stewart, both berthed at on nearby Pelican Island.

tall shipsThe Texas Seaport Museum tells the story of a rich legacy of seaborne commerce and immigration. Look for ancestors in a computer database containing the names of more than 133,000 immigrants who entered the United States through Galveston.

The Galveston Historical Foundation and the Texas Navy Association tell the story of local naval maritime history, highlighting the ships that kept the shores of the Gulf Coast safe from invaders, both foreign and domestic; an exhibit that takes you back to a time of cannon fire, sailing ships and adventure on the high seas. Focusing on the 1st and 2nd Texas Navies, museum goers will see artifacts and paintings of the time, as well as ships models, including the infamous topsail schooner Independence.

Elissa was built during the decline of the Age of Sail to fill a niche in maritime commerce. Over her 90-year commercial history she carried cargoes to ports around the world, for a succession of owners. Today, she is a fully-functional vessel that continues to sail in the Gulf of Mexico.

marine biology toursThe Marine Biology Tour provides participants with a hands-on opportunity to observe dolphins and other species in their natural habitat, trawl for and handle marine organisms, study plankton through a microscopic lens, and explore Galveston Bay’s rich history. The tour lasts one and a half hours.

The Center for Coastal Heritage is a resource for practitioners working at the cross-section of the built environment and natural environment and a commitment to coastal resilience, sustainability and environmental health.

center for coastal heritageConnect for Travel to Galveston Texas

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