We're having too much fun, so we had to take a Beach Break!
Yesterday I left you hanging with photos of "Old Red" and Bob standing next to a Hurricane Ike flood line and no explanations. We were on a Volksmarch of historic Galveston.
Old Red is the Ashbel Smith Building on Galveston Island. This Romanesque Revival Building was built in 1891 with red brick and sandstone. It was the first University of Texas Medical Branch Building, but certainly not the last. The building was renovated in 1985, then sustained damage during Hurricane Ike in 2008 when the lower portion was submerged under six feet of water.
|Bob in front of the Ashbel Smith Building (Old Red)|
|Ashbel Smith's bust|
|High water markers are all around historic Galveston.|
Both of us were amazed by the gorgeous homes and mansions. To tell you the truth, Galveston is bigger than I ever imagined. Following are our impressions of historic Galveston.
We started out meandering through The Strand (historic buildings now housing restaurants and shops) which reminded us of New Orleans, and neighborhoods affected by Hurricane Ike. Quite a few historic homes took a beating when the storm surge submerged this part of the city.
Because I'm curious, I wondered why this street in Galveston is named "The Strand." On the original plat maps of the city from the late 1830s, the street is named "Avenue B."
A German immigrant who opened a jewelry store on Avenue B didn't like the name of the street, so he changed the name on his stationery to Strand (named after a street in London), thinking the name would have higher-class connotations for his jewelry store. He then convinced other store owners on the street to change the name they used for the street as well. The name stuck. (The word strand comes from Old English for "shore" or "river bank;" in German, Swedish and Dutch, the word means "beach.")
|Looks like New Orleans, but it's The Strand in Galveston, TX|
|Clock says "Observatory Time"|
(Corner of The Strand and Kempner)
|Bob walking in front of Stewart Title Building.|
|High water line from Hurricane Ike|
|Stewart Title - a different perspective|
|1894 Romanesque Opera House entrance|
|United States Customs House|
|So much detail to enjoy on this house.|
|Victor Gustafson home, a one-story cottage|
Hurricane Ike killed 40,000 trees on Galveston Island during its storm surge leaving the landscape bare. Galveston Island Tree Conservancy member Donna Leibbert found chain saw sculptors to create sculptures from the dead trees in the Historic District. (We walked past 20 of them on our walk today!) What once was an eyesore and reminder of the horrors of Hurricane Ike, became a treat for the eyes and spirit.
The sculpting of Galveston's trees is one way of reusing resources. Over 100 tons of wood was selected for the restoration of America's only remaining whaling ship, the Charles M. Morgan. A local lumber yard took several tons of wood to mill and dry for building projects; 200 tons of wood went to Malaga, Spain to be used in the completion of a full-scale replica of the brig "Galveztown." Galvestonians kept 100% of the "Iked" wood out of the landfill. Now that's what I call recycling!
There was an unexpected consequence of losing so many big oak trees from the storm: Homeowners found that without the shade the big trees provided, the sunlight allowed flower gardens to grow. When walking through the historic district there is now an abundance of flowers as homeowners are using them as a substitute for the lost oaks.
|Dead tree carving of a pelican eating a fish.|
|Norwegian Wood guitar? (It's a joke, son.)|
|Toto and the Tin Man|
|Beautiful flowers now grow in place of stately oaks.|
|Some houses still need work!|
In the following photo, the dog was on the roof! What's up with that?
The following notice was posted in front of the house with the dog on the roof.
The 20-year owner of the 1898 home below was walking his great dane puppy and we met him on the sidewalk out front. I noticed his Great Dane sculpture and asked if he lived in the house. (He did indeed.) Their old Great Dane, Hunter, must have passed away. The sculpture was a tribute to Hunter. The tree that grew where the sculpture is now had grown around the fence at the spot where the paws grip the fence. Thieves cut off the paw at the fence line which prompted a reward from the owners. The sculptor, who was still on the island, carved a new one to replace the old one. I can tell you his new Great Dane puppy is absolutely adorable!
|New Great Dane puppy.|
|Sacred Heart Catholic Church|
|Bob in front of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church|
|Front entrance of the church|
|Bishop's Palace, another architectural beauty.|
|Griffin guards entry to Bishop's Palace|
|Hotel Galvez and Spa|
|Mural looked great at night.|
That concludes our walking tour. We spent a little over three hours doing our 10K (6.2 miles) because we took time to look at many of the dead tree sculptures along the way and I HAD to photograph the gorgeous homes and architectural wonders we found. It was hot and humid, so five miles into the walk we bought fruit smoothies. Boy did those taste good!
I know this blog is long, but I want to close by saying this: we found so much more to do in Galveston that we will have to come back for a week. Here's what we have on our bucket list:
- Moody Gardens
- Pleasure Pier
- Pier 21 Theater (to watch: "The Great Storm" and "The Pirate Island of Jean Lafitte")
- Ocean Star Offshore Energy Center and Museum
- Galveston Island Railroad Museum
- Texas Seaport Museum with Tall Ship Elissa
- Schlitterbahn Galveston
- Free ferry
- Seawolf Park (a WWII submarine, a destroyer escort and other military hardware are open for tours)
- Lone Star Flight Museum
- Rosenberg Library
Monday we are off to the NASA Space Center for a Level 9 tour.
Travel Bug out.