Friday, April 22, 2011

Galveston

Our last day in the Houston area found us headed south to Galveston.


A series of large 'victorian era' homes were on Broadway as we entered the island. This home, the Ashton Villa, was built in 1859 by James Moreau Brown, a hardware merchant, railroad president and banker. He was considered to be one of the richest men in 19th century Texas.


At the end of Broadway you run into Sea Wall Blvd. Following an earlier hurricane, the city built a sea wall which runs a good part of the 32 mile length facing the gulf. As you can sea, the Galveston beach is not the prettiest. Lots of seaweed and trash. But no signs of oil or remnants of the oil spill earlier this year.


Of course I had to get my feet wet.


Tom, Max and I getting our picture taken with the gulf in the background.


I used the iphone app, Urbanspoon, to find this restaurant. It had an 82% rating and was supposed to have reasonable prices. Both the guys had the fish and chips and Max took half of his home. I couldn't resist and had the oyster dinner. Yummmmmm


We started out eating on the upstairs patio, but as you can see, it was a little windy. We left and went inside.


These Grackels were enjoying the leftovers on the next table.


I had been to the Galveston Beach before, but not the downtown area. It is an old, 'victorian' style architecture. This is The Grand Opry House, built in 1894 and is still in operation today. We couldn't get in because they were rehearsing for a show that night. Holland Taylor, of Two and a Half Men (Charlie and Alan's mom), was putting on a 2 act play on the life of Ann Richards, the famous governor of Texas.


The Galveston News Building, built in 1884, and now houses a title company.


The current home office of American National Insurance Co. is 20 stories and was built in 1971. American National was founded in 1905 by Galveston pioneer W.L. Moody Jr. It is the largest Texas based life insurance company, licensed in 49 states, and in 1971 employed over 1200. It started on the 3rd floor of the Moody Building on 22 and Strand with 10 employees.


The Cotton Exchange. Unsure of exactly when it was built since we found two signs on the building. One stated it was erected in 1878, and the other stated it was erected in 1940. Take your guess.


In 1900 the island suffered through a terrible hurricane and storm, destroying over 3600 buildings and taking over 6000 lives just on the island alone. Today it is still considered one of the deadliest natural disasters of the U.S. Every building which survived has this placque.


On the harbor side of the Galveston Island is the Ocean Star Museum. It tell the history of off shore oil rigging.


I was surprised at some of the products which contain petroleum. Did you realize those aspirin and allergy pills had petroleum in them?


This atmospheric diving suit allows a man to descent 2300 feet below the surface of the ocean. You wouldn't catch me in one, that's for sure!


This is a BOP, Blow Out Plug. It is made by Cameron Corp. It's been in the news recently. BP British Petroleum) is suing Cameron Corp. citing faulty BOPs as part of the problem with the recent explosion and oil spill in the gulf on one of BPs off-shore oil rigs. I had just read about the lawsuit when the next day I am looking at one of those BOPs.


Don't we look like real oil rig workers?


When I first saw this across the bay I had no idea what it was, but after going through the Ocean Star Museum I knew exactly what it was. This is a jack-up rig, one of the shallow water exploration and drilling platforms used when looking for oil. This one is being scraped.


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