Strand National Historic Landmark District
The Strand Historic District, also known as the Strand District, in downtown Galveston
Galveston, Texas
Galveston is a coastal city located on Galveston Island in the U.S. state of Texas. , the city had a total population of 47,743 within an area of...

, Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

), is a National Historic Landmark District
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 of mainly Victorian era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 buildings that now house restaurants, antique stores, and curio shops. The area is a major tourist attraction
Tourist attraction
A tourist attraction is a place of interest where tourists visit, typically for its inherent or exhibited cultural value, historical significance, natural or built beauty, or amusement opportunities....

 for the island city and also plays host to two very popular seasonal festival
A festival or gala is an event, usually and ordinarily staged by a local community, which centers on and celebrates some unique aspect of that community and the Festival....

s. It is widely considered the island's shopping and entertainment center.

The street labeled "The Strand" is actually named Avenue B, which runs parallel to Galveston Bay
Galveston Bay
Galveston Bay is a large estuary located along the upper coast of Texas in the United States. It is connected to the Gulf of Mexico and is surrounded by sub-tropic marshes and prairies on the mainland. The water in the Bay is a complex mixture of sea water and fresh water which supports a wide...


The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 in 1970 and further declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

Today "the Strand" is generally used to refer to the entire five-block business district between 20th and 25th streets in downtown Galveston, very close to the city's wharf
A wharf or quay is a structure on the shore of a harbor where ships may dock to load and unload cargo or passengers.Such a structure includes one or more berths , and may also include piers, warehouses, or other facilities necessary for handling the ships.A wharf commonly comprises a fixed...



The original plat
A plat in the U.S. is a map, drawn to scale, showing the divisions of a piece of land. Other English-speaking countries generally call such documents a cadastral map or plan....

 of Galveston, drawn in the late 1830s, includes Avenue B, but the origins of its nickname are unknown. Some have speculated that it was named after the well-known Strand
Strand, London
Strand is a street in the City of Westminster, London, England. The street is just over three-quarters of a mile long. It currently starts at Trafalgar Square and runs east to join Fleet Street at Temple Bar, which marks the boundary of the City of London at this point, though its historical length...

 in London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. (The word strand comes from the Old English
Old English language
Old English or Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in parts of what are now England and southeastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century...

 word for "shore" or "river bank"; in German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

, Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

 and Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

, the word means "beach".)
The Strand's very earliest buildings were typically wooden and vulnerable to fires and storms that hit the island frequently throughout the 19th century. Eventually those structures were replaced with iron-fronted brick buildings. The two oldest buildings still standing on the Strand date to 1855 and 1858; other historic buildings date back typically to the 1870s and 1880s.

Throughout the 19th century, the port city of Galveston boomed; and the Strand, which is very close to the harbor, grew into the region's main business center. For a time, it was known as the "Wall Street of the Southwest."

Because of the Port of Galveston
Port of Galveston
The Port of Galveston is the port of the city of Galveston, Texas. It was established by a proclamation issued by the Congress of Mexico on October 17, 1825, while the land known today as Texas was still part of Mexico...

's enormous vessel traffic (between 700 and 1,400 vessels annually), the Strand became a popular place for major businesses to locate, including the state's five largest banks at the time, wholesalers, commission merchants, cotton brokers, attorneys and slave auctioneers. In 1881, businesses in the Strand district sold about US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

38 million worth of merchandise and services. Between 1838 and 1842, 18 newspapers were started; The Galveston News, founded in 1842, is the lone survivor.
Because of the Strand's close proximity to Galveston's harbor, the area suffered some damage during several battles during the Civil War, particularly when Union forces barricaded the city. During the Battle of Galveston
Battle of Galveston
The Battle of Galveston or the Second Battle of Galveston was a naval and land battle that occurred on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War when Confederate forces under Maj. Gen. John B...

, Confederate
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 forces fought from every corner of the area; several buildings suffered damage from shots and shelling. The battles forced many businesses to close and move to nearby Houston
Houston, Texas
Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States, and the largest city in the state of Texas. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of 2.1 million people within an area of . Houston is the seat of Harris County and the economic center of , which is the ...

 until the war's end. But most moved back into their regular quarters and enjoyed prosperity until the turn of the next century.
The Galveston hurricane of 1900
Galveston Hurricane of 1900
The Hurricane of 1900 made landfall on the city of Galveston in the U.S. state of Texas, on September 8, 1900.It had estimated winds of at landfall, making it a Category 4 storm on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale...

 was devastating to much of the city, and the Strand district was no exception. Many of its buildings suffered catastrophic damage — some buildings lost entire floors, others lost elaborate cornices and flourishes. Many businesses elected to move away from the wharf and, by default, away from the Strand. The area became a warehouse district, and was not revived until the 1960s when the Junior League
Junior League
The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. is a non-profit organization of 292 Junior Leagues in Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom and the United States. Junior Leagues are educational and charitable women's organizations aimed at improving their communities through volunteerism and...

 of Galveston County
Galveston County, Texas
Galveston County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas within the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 291,309. Its county seat is Galveston. League City is the largest city in Galveston County in terms of population; between...

 restored two buildings.

That restoration effort sparked a revitalization project that is still ongoing. In 1973 the Galveston Historical Foundation followed suit, creating a trust fund for dramatic restorations of the Strand district that has sparked significant private investment as well.

Present day

Today the Strand features shops, historical exhibits, museums, art galleries and many restaurants and night clubs. It is also the location of a very popular annual Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras
The terms "Mardi Gras" , "Mardi Gras season", and "Carnival season", in English, refer to events of the Carnival celebrations, beginning on or after Epiphany and culminating on the day before Ash Wednesday...

 celebration, as well as a Christmas
Christmas or Christmas Day is an annual holiday generally celebrated on December 25 by billions of people around the world. It is a Christian feast that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, liturgically closing the Advent season and initiating the season of Christmastide, which lasts twelve days...

 festival known as Dickens on the Strand
Dickens on the Strand
Dickens on the Strand is an annual Christmas festival in Galveston, Texas occurring the first weekend in December. Established in 1974 and set against the historical backdrop of Galveston's Strand, participants come to witness and relive the Charles Dickens era. Saturday features a parade...

, which celebrates the city's Victorian heritage with participants roaming the Strand in period dress.

Attractions within the area include The Galveston County Museum, the Galveston Railroad Museum, Victorian architecture
Victorian architecture
The term Victorian architecture refers collectively to several architectural styles employed predominantly during the middle and late 19th century. The period that it indicates may slightly overlap the actual reign, 20 June 1837 – 22 January 1901, of Queen Victoria. This represents the British and...

, horse and carriage
Horse and buggy
A horse and buggy or horse and carriage refers to a light, simple, two-person carriage of the late 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, drawn usually by one or sometimes by two horses...

 rides, historical markers, an old fashioned trolley
Galveston Island Trolley
The Galveston Island Trolley is a heritage streetcar in Galveston, Texas, United States. As of late 2006, the total network length was 6.8 miles with 22 stations. The Galveston Island Trolley is operated by Island Transit...

 for transportation, and a giant chess
Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. It is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.Each player...

 set in Saengerfest Park
Saengerfest Park
Saengerfest Park is a small square park located on the corner of Tremont St and Strand St in the Strand Historic District of Galveston, Texas. The location includes a trolley stop, with a Fuddrucker's and a Yaga's Cafe nearby....

. The historic district also contains a variety of retailers, including clothing, factory outlets, souvenir shops, art galleries, antique galleries.

On the outer edges of the Strand is the Post Office district, known for its antique and art galleries and the Grand 1894 Opera House
Grand 1894 Opera House
The Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston, Texas is a historic theater currently operated as a not-for-profit performing arts theater. The Romanesque Revival style Opera House is located at 2020 Post Office Street in Galveston's Strand District.- History :...

. Closer to the water is Pier 21, which has daily showings of the movies The Great Storm of 1900 and The Pirate Island of Jean Lafitte, the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum
Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig & Museum
The Ocean Star Offshore Oil Rig & Museum, located in Galveston, Texas, is a museum dedicated to the offshore oil and gas industry. Located next to the Strand National Historic Landmark District, the museum is housed on a retired jack-up rig set up in the Galveston harbor.-History:The Ocean Star was...

, and the Texas Seaport Museum with tall ship Elissa
Elissa (ship)
The tall ship Elissa is a three-masted barque. She is currently moored in Galveston, Texas, and is one of the oldest ships sailing today....


The Strand sustained significant and catastrophic damage from the storm surge of Hurricane Ike on September 13, 2008 prompting the National Trust for Historic Preservation
National Trust for Historic Preservation
The National Trust for Historic Preservation is an American member-supported organization that was founded in 1949 by congressional charter to support preservation of historic buildings and neighborhoods through a range of programs and activities, including the publication of Preservation...

 to add the district to the 2009 list of America's Most Endangered Places
America's Most Endangered Places
Each year since 1987, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has released a list of places they consider the most endangered in America. The number of sites included on the list has varied, with the most recent lists settling on 11...


Further reading

  • Howard Barnstone, The Galveston That Was (New York: Macmillan, 1966).
  • Virginia Eisenhour, The Strand of Galveston (Galveston, 1974).
  • Charles Waldo Hayes, Galveston: History of the Island and the City (2 vols., Austin: Jenkins Garrett, 1974).
  • David G. McComb, Galveston: A History (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986).

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.