It’s amazing to me that Galveston is so close and yet so far from Houston! Having spent a week painting the historic areas of the Island at the OPS Plein Air South West, I was struck with how Old and how Southern Galveston is. You would think, with all the storms that have battered the Island, that there would be nothing left, but contrair, Galveston is one tough old Girl! The city was founded in 1836 by Matthew Sabo and served as the capital of the Republic of Texas. Don’t you wonder what made Matthew decide to go there in the first place? But he was not the first European to settle there. The pirate, Jean Lafitte established a colony in 1817 numbering about 1,000 at it’s peak, but he eventually was forced to leave. Apparently pirates can outstay their welcome. By the 1840’s Galveston became the most active port west of New Orleans and by 1900, right before the Great Storm, she had a population of 37,000. On September 8, 1900, one third of the city was completely destroyed by that hurricane, and 6,000 people died. After that, there have been many attempts to revive the city but in the early 80’s, Galveston began a campaign of renewal that has been tremendously successful. Next time you decide to go to the beach, spend some time first visiting some of the 2,000 buildings in town listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Galveston is plenty cool, even before you get to the Seawall.