Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Galveston, TX. Historic Buildings. The Strand. Texas Seaport Museum. Tall Ship ELISSA. Offshore Museum. Railroad Museum. Seawolf Park. Flight Museum. Oregon Trail.

For “Travel Tuesday”.  We explored Moody Gardens last week, now let’s do some more exploring in Galveston.

Escape & Explore Galveston Island:

“Wondering what to do while on the Island? Galveston is famous for its festivals - from Dickens on The Strand, to Epicurean Evening, to Mardi Gras! Galveston, to the Lone Star Rally.”

Here is one of the webcams, the Harbor Cam:  http://www.galveston.com/harborcam/

Here are just a few of the things to see and do in Galveston:

Some of the Historic Buildings:

1838. Michel B. Menard HomeThe Menard House

“One of the founders of the City of Galveston, Michel B. Menard arrived in Texas in 1829. He was born near Montreal in 1805 and entered the fur trading company of John Jacob Astor at the age of 14. Menard arrived in Nacogdoches in the 1830s and began speculating in Texas land. Because land was only granted to Mexican- born Texans at that time, many of Menard's land deals were made by Juan Seguin, a Mexican citizen who eventually fought under Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto.

The house, built in 1838 and the oldest on the island, is in the Greek revival style. The furniture and furnishings, with few exceptions, all date from the first half of the 19th century (1800-1850s). They are of the federal, empire, regency, Biedermeier, and William IV styles, as interpreted by American, English, French and German artisans. Carpets, drapes and upholstery fabrics are reproductions appropriate for the period 1830-1850.”


1859. Ashton Villa

Ashton Villa, Galveston, Texas

“Ashton Villa was built in 1858-59, the first of Galveston's Broadway "palaces," as well as the first brick house to be built in Texas.

The artistic and eccentric Miss Bettie Brown was mistress of the manor, and her life-size paintings still adorn the showy Gold Room. When the villa was almost razed in 1970, Galveston Historical Foundation led a campaign to save it, and now manages it as a house museum.”


1880. Garten Verein


“The flamboyant octagonal Garten Verein (Garden Club) was the center of 19th-century refined social life in Galveston. Lit at night like a fairy lantern, dancing couples would swirl within as German waitresses served beer steins and sandwiches.

Built by Galveston's prosperous German community — but open to anyone who could afford the modest membership — the whimsically designed Victorian pavilion flew the flags of all nations, and sported a bowling green, exotically landscaped park, croquet grounds, an ornate fountain, and even a genteel zoo.

Galveston businessman Stanley Kempner bought the site in 1923 and donated it to the city as a public park dedicated to his parents.”


1892.  Bishop's Palace

The grand Bishop Palace in“Galveston's grandest and best-known building, the Bishop's Palace is an ornate delight of colored stone, intricately carved ornaments, rare woods, stained-glass windows, bronze dragons and other sculptures, luxury materials and furnishings, and impressive fireplaces from around the world (including one lined with pure silver!).

Built by lawyer Colonel Walter Gresham and designed by Nicholas Clayton, Galveston's premier architect, this Victorian castle was cited by the American Institute of Architects as one of the 100 most important buildings in America. The home was built from 1886 to 1892.”


Now some other places to see:

The Strand:

View of The Strand. Galveston, TX.

“The proximity of the Cruise Ship Terminal to Galveston's historic downtown district provides an opportunity to embark on a brief adventure prior to or following your cruise. The downtown area offers an intriguing selection of shops, restaurants, galleries, and museums within a perfect radius for self-guided tours.   Start near the corner of 25th and Strand directly across from the Galveston Island Railroad Museum, one of the nation's most popular rail museums. Take about 30-45 minutes to enjoy all the fascinating displays.

Back on The Strand, take some time to enjoy the variety of shops in the district's beautiful historic buildings, many of which survived the 1900 Storm, regarded as the worst natural disaster in U.S. history.

Galveston, TX.For a taste of Galveston, visit the great restaurants along The Strand or on the waterfront. You'll find everything from Greek and Mexican to Italian and, of course, fresh Gulf Coast seafood.

On the bay side of Harborside, on Pier 19, you'll find the Ocean Star Offshore Energy Center and Museum. Step aboard and explore the offshore rig and learn how oil and gas are produced offshore. The museum features interactive displays and models.

Walking back toward the terminal, you'll find the Pier 21 Theater featuring The Great Storm and The Pirate Island of Jean Lafitte. The Great Storm runs 27 minutes and plays on the hour. It gives a glimpse of the devastating 1900 Storm, a Category 5 hurricane, through a multi-image documentary experience. The Pirate Island of Jean Lafitte is an 18-minute dramatic film chronicling the adventures of the notorious pirate who made Galveston his home.

Next door, you'll find the Texas Seaport Museum and Tall Ship Elissa. At the museum, look up your ancestors in a one-of-a-kind computer database with information on over 133,000 immigrants who entered the United States through Galveston. Adjacent to the museum is the Tall Ship Elissa, deemed one of America's treasures by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Allow at least 25-30 minutes at each site.”


Texas Seaport Museum and the Tall Ship ELISSA

“Share the adventure of the high seas at the Texas Seaport Museum, home of the celebrated 1877 tall ship Elissa. Explore the decks of this floating National Historic Landmark which has also been designated one of America's Treasures by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Walk Elissa's decks and imagine the days when daring sailors challenged the world's oceans. In the adjacent museum and theater, witness the story of Elissa's dramatic rescue from the scrap yard and her meticulous restoration.

Texas Seaport MuseumLocated in the historic port of Galveston, the Texas Seaport Museum also tells the story of a rich legacy of seaborne commerce and immigration. Look for ancestors with a one-of-a-kind computer database containing the names of more than 133,000 immigrants who entered the United States through Galveston, "The Ellis Island of the West." Join the Museum's staff and volunteers as they bring the past to life through special exhibits and educational programs.

Galveston's tall ship ElissaAbout Elissa:
Elissa is a three-masted, iron-hulled sailing ship built in 1877 in Aberdeen, Scotland by Alexander Hall & Company. She carries nineteen sails covering over one-quarter of an acre in surface area. Tall ships are classified by the configuration of their sailing rig. In ELISSA's case, she is a "barque" because she carries square and fore-and-aft sails on her fore and mainmasts, but only fore-and-aft sails on her mizzenmast. From her stern to the tip of her jib boom she measures 205 feet. Her height is 99 feet, 9 inches at the main mast and she displaces about 620 tons at her current ballast.

Ongoing Exhibits and Films: Gold from the Gulf, showcasing the shrimp industry in the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay, on exhibit at the Texas Seaport Museum. The exhibit features the history, ecology and legacy of shrimping in the Gulf of Mexico, but the jewel of the exhibit will be the 1937 shrimp boat Santa Maria, one of the few remaining original mosquito boats in Galveston Bay.

Film: Passage to Galveston: The Story of ELISSA, presented every day on the hour and half-hour, at the theater in the Texas Seaport Museum. This 17-minute, award-winning documentary beautifully tells the story of Elissa's discovery, purchase and restoration. Entrance to the film is included in the museum admission price.”


Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum

Ocean Star Offshore Drilling“This totally unique museum and learning center is located on Galveston's Pier 19, at Harborside Drive and 20th Street, just one block off The Strand.

Take a leisurely, self-guided tour through the retired Ocean Star jack-up rig which now serves as a museum and educational facility. From geological exploration, to drilling, to oil and gas production, you will see offshore drilling equipment, exhibits and videos on three levels of this refurbished offshore drilling rig.”


Galveston Island Railroad Museum

Galveston Railroad Museum“The Galveston Railroad Museum is a complex of historic facilities and unique attractions.

Towering at the head of the Strand, the vast Railroad Museum boasts one of the largest restored railroad collections in the southwest, and one of the five largest in the country, with numerous railroad memorabilia and exhibits, including more than 40 pieces of locomotives and rolling stock.

The Strand at 25th, Galveston,South East Texas' most popular railroad museum, there is something here for everyone!

Throughout the year, experience lavishly restored trains, engaging exhibits, and unique special events. Most Saturdays, the Museum offers rides aboard the "Harborside Express" train between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. boarding every 20 minutes.”


Seawolf Park

Creation of Seawolf Park“Seawolf Park features a 3-story pavilion, the USS CAVALLA (WWII Submarine) ; the USS STEWART (destroyer escort - one of only 3 in the world); a Fishing Pier ; and a Playground. The park was built on an immigration station site and offers a three-story pavilion with a view of Galveston harbor, picnic sites, a playground area and a lighted fishing pier.  Seawolf Park is available for company picnics, school field trips, and private parties.”


The Lone Star Flight Museum.

Lone Star Flight Museum

“An aerospace museum that displays more than 40 historically significant aircraft and many hundreds of artifacts related to the history of flight. The museum's collection is rare because most of the aircraft are flyable.

The museum's collection often participates in airshows across the country. As of 2005, the museum's aircraft annually log more than 40,000 miles (60,000 km) of cross-country flying to various air demonstrations.”  More info and pictures at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lone_Star_Flight_Museum

There is a lot more to see and do in Galveston, just come and see for yourself.


On This Day:

A thousand pioneers head West on the Oregon Trail, May 22, 1843:

“The first major wagon train to the northwest departs from Elm Grove, Missouri, on the Oregon Trail.

Although U.S. sovereignty over the Oregon Territory was not clearly established until 1846, American fur trappers and missionary groups had been living in the region for decades. Dozens of books and lectures proclaimed Oregon's agricultural potential, tweaking the interest of American farmers. The first overland immigrants to Oregon, intending primarily to farm, came in 1841 when a small band of 70 pioneers left Independence, Missouri. They followed a route blazed by fur traders, which took them west along the Platte River through the Rocky Mountains via the easy South Pass in Wyoming and then northwest to the Columbia River. In the years to come, pioneers came to call the route the Oregon Trail.

In 1842, a slightly larger group of 100 pioneers made the 2,000-mile journey to Oregon. The next year, however, the number of emigrants skyrocketed to 1,000. The sudden increase was a product of a severe depression in the Midwest combined with a flood of propaganda from fur traders, missionaries, and government officials extolling the virtues of the land. Farmers dissatisfied with their prospects in Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, and Tennessee, hoped to find better lives in the supposed paradise of Oregon.

On this day in 1843, some 1,000 men, women, and children climbed aboard their wagons and steered their horses west out of the small town of Elm Grove, Missouri. The train comprised more than 100 wagons with a herd of 5,000 oxen and cattle trailing behind. Dr. Elijah White, a Presbyterian missionary who had made the trip the year before, served as guide.

The first section of the Oregon Trail ran through the relatively flat country of the Great Plains. Obstacles were few, though the river crossings could be dangerous for wagons. The danger of Indian attacks was a small but genuine risk. To be on the safe side, the pioneers drew their wagons into a circle at night to create a makeshift stockade. If they feared Indians might raid their livestock—the Plains tribes valued the horses, though generally ignored the oxen—they would drive the animals into the enclosure.

Although many neophyte pioneers believed Indians were their greatest threat, they quickly learned that they were more likely to be injured or killed by a host of more mundane causes. Obstacles included accidental discharge of firearms, falling off mules or horses, drowning in river crossings, and disease. After entering the mountains, the trail also became much more difficult, with steep ascents and descents over rocky terrain. The pioneers risked injury from overturned and runaway wagons.

Yet, as with the 1,000-person party that made the journey in 1843, the vast majority of pioneers on the trail survived to reach their destination in the fertile, well-watered land of western Oregon. The migration of 1844 was smaller than that of the previous season, but in 1845 it jumped to nearly 3,000. Thereafter, migration on the Oregon Trail was an annual event, although the practice of traveling in giant convoys of wagons gave way to many smaller bands of one or two-dozen wagons. The trail was heavily traveled until 1884, when the Union Pacific constructed a railway along the route.”



Misty had her usual walk-about down at Jay’s, and upon our return here, Jay and I shampooed the carpets.  Or rather, he did the shampooing, while I moved the small furniture out of the way.  I pre-spot with a little Super-Clean or Awesome spray, so all we put in the machine is a little 20-Mule Team Borax, which leaves it clean with no soap residue to attract dirt. This beige 10 year old carpet still looks like new.

It was a bit warmer, so we had to run the AC yesterday.

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