Galveston has a rich and varied history. The Karakawa Indians met global explorers in the 16th century and continued to be a forceful presence for about 300 years. In the early 19th century, their population had dwindled and during the Texas War Of Independence they chose to fight with Mexico. Galveston was named the capital of the Republic of Texas and continued to thrive as the Wall Street of the South. Jean Lafitte and other pirates were beaconed by the riches and all sorts of shenanigans that persisted for the remainder of the 19th century. That is, until The Great Storm of 1900 devastated the coastal gem. The tenacious residents along with Federal assistance raised the Seawall, repaired and raised homes and businesses and the citizens returned to their beloved coastal gem. In the early 1920’s Galveston had made a come back – the ports were busy, money was being made, people were happy, tourists were flocking, and then there were other illicit attractions too. The Balinese Room was a main hub for all sorts of entertainment, stars of the time enjoyed playing the delightful venue, which was situated about 600 feet from the Seawall over the Gulf of Mexico. The Texas Rangers eventually shut down all operations by just hanging out around the club, deterring unlawful visitors from their desire to gamble. The Balinese Room shut their doors in 1957. It was reopened in the 80’s and enjoyed another 30 years of live music before its final day in October of 2008.
The University of Texas Medical University broke ground in 1890 as government officials realized a need for trained doctors across the state. The university, UTMB, is still a huge draw for medical students and is a major contributor to Galveston’s operating revenue.
The island is full of about 50,000 residents who love their little piece of paradise. According to the Houston Chronicle, Galveston’s tourists have been steadily on the rise with about 6.4 million visitors in 2015. Check out our activities sections to learn more about the fun things to do on Galveston.