I’ve always loved Galveston, and now I have a local connection. My boyfriend’s grandmother, Alba Collins, grew up in a tiny house underneath the island’s first wooden rollercoaster in the 1930s. And we visit her every so often, spending sunny, summer weekends soaking our toes in the Gulf waters as we listen to her stories about Galveston in earlier days.
Galveston became the largest city in Texas between 1830 and 1860, when shippers exported more cotton from its wharves than from any other American port. Italian brothers Rosario “Rose” Maceo and Salvatore “Sam” Maceo in time brought big-time gaming to the port city.
The kids are back in school, and weâ€™re already working on the winter Texas Events Calendar, but hopefully thereâ€™s still room in everyoneâ€™s schedule for summerâ€™s last hurrah â€“ Labor Day!
In addition to the usual holiday celebrations, many communities choose this weekend to put on some of their biggest and most unique events.
In the 19th Century, tragedies washed over Galveston as regularly as the tides: deadly fires, yellow-fever epidemics, and hurricanes. Anecdotally, this legacy of destruction left Galveston one of the nation’s most haunted cities. Even for travelers without a taste for the macabre, the wide range of said-to-be-haunted sites offers a fascinating glimpse into Galveston’s colorful past. In fact, I’ve come to the Island to learn more about local history, largely by looking for ghosts.
The city pool where I hung out as a youngster had a blue plastic slide, the kind that adorned most swimming pools in the 1960s. This one turned a complete 360 degrees before spitting me out like a watermelon seed to land with a satisfying—and refreshing—splash. I couldn’t get enough of it. Well, water slides have come a long way since then. For proof, just visit a Schlitterbahn water park in New Braunfels, South Padre Island, or Galveston. The original location in New Braunfels has been voted “The World’s Best Waterpark” for 10 consecutive years by Amusement Today magazine, which surveys amusement park fans around the world.
In one of Texas’ oldest cities, where dozens of buildings boast creaky floors and historical markers, it’s easy to get spooked—or thrilled—come All Hallows Eve. In a city as rich with history as Galveston, you know spirits are stirring.