Galveston: A History of the Island

Front Cover
TCU Press, 1998 - History - 345 pages
9 Reviews
"Coming down the coastal prairie from Houston on Interstate 45, you can smell the ghosts before you can see or hear them. They smell sweet and moldy, like the unfocused memory of some lost sensation jarred unexpectedly to mind". -- from chapter one

Galveston -- a small, flat island off the Texas Gulf coast -- has seen some of the state's most amazing history and fascinating people. First settled by the Karankawa Indians, long suspected of cannibalism, it was where the stranded Cabeza de Vaca came ashore in the 16th century. Pirate Jean Lafitte used it as a hideout in the early 1800s and both General Sam Houston and General James Long (with his wife, Jane, the "Mother of Texas") stayed on its shores. More modern notable names on the island include Robert Kleberg and the Moody, Sealy and Kempner families who dominated commerce and society well into the twentieth century.

Captured by both sides during the Civil War and the scene of a devastating sea battle, the city flourished during Reconstruction and became a leading port, an exporter of grain and cotton, a terminal for two major railroads, and site of fabulous Victorian buildings -- homes, hotels, the Grand Opera House, the Galveston Pavilion (first building in Texas to have electric lights). It was, writes Cartwright, "the largest, bawdiest, and most important city between New Orleans and San Francisco".

This country's worst natural disaster -- the Galveston hurricane of 1900 -- left the city in shambles, with one sixth of its population dead. But Galveston recovered. During Prohibition rum-running and bootlegging flourished; after the repeal, a variety of shady activities earned the city the nickname "The Free State ofGalveston".

In recent years Galveston has focused on civic reform and restoration of its valuable architectural and cultural heritage. Over 500 buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and an annual "Dickens on the Strand" festival brings thousands of tourists to the island city each December. Yet Galveston still witnesses colorful incidents and tells stories of descendants of the ruling families as Cartwright demonstrates with wry humor in a new epilogue written specially for this edition of Galveston.

First published in 1991 by Athereum.

  

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Review: Galveston: A History of the Island

User Review  - Anna Chaney - Goodreads

oh my gosh i wish this man would write my book.its brilliant just amazing!! Read full review

Review: Galveston: A History of the Island

User Review  - Elizabeth Grygo - Goodreads

I love the Island, despite the fact that it seems to have been populated by murderers and crazy people who are amazing at overcoming adversity. Oh, and the book was a good easy read and I am very grateful to the owners of our beach house rental for having a copy. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

Section 1
1
Section 2
13
Section 3
17
Section 4
25
Section 5
39
Section 6
55
Section 7
63
Section 8
71
Section 17
175
Section 18
183
Section 19
195
Section 20
207
Section 21
217
Section 22
229
Section 23
241
Section 24
249

Section 9
85
Section 10
95
Section 11
117
Section 12
131
Section 13
141
Section 14
151
Section 15
156
Section 16
163
Section 25
263
Section 26
277
Section 27
293
Section 28
299
Section 29
313
Section 30
321
Section 31
325
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Born and raised in Texas, Gary Cartwright graduated from Texas Christian University. In the ten years after graduation, Cartwright worked for five different newspapers. After successfully publishing his first book, a novel called The Hundred Yard War, Cartwright became a freelance writer. Named associate editor for Texas Monthly in 1982, where he now holds senior editor duties, Cartwright has written a handful of screenplays and just as many books. A life-altering heart attack, which required a quintuple bypass and a pacemaker, inspired Cartwright to write the book Heartwiseguy: How to Live the Good Life After a Heart Attack, a memoir that also gives practical advice and valuable tips.

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