BEYOND THE BEATEN PATHS:
Driving Historic Galveston

For those of you who enjoyed walking the streets of historic Galveston, Beyond the Beaten Paths:  Driving Historic Galveston travels most of the 32-mile length of the Island via often circuitous routes, that meander in, out and around those nine distinct historical neighborhoods traversed in the city's first walking guide.   Deeper in the districts, the wanderer will discover many few and far-between vintage structures, while reading more in-depth studies about many of the Island's lesser known but thoroughly unforgettable characters -- however they achieved their place in its history. 

Even more than the first, this guidebook is meant for the curious “Everyman” who travels city streets, avenues and roads, wondering about Galveston's past, rather 50 or 500 years ago.  While the walking guide focused on those documented stories after the city was officially established by Michel Menard in 1839, the driving guide includes the Island's more mythic yarns, spanning its 500 + years of human habitation.   That "ancient history" started as early as 1528 when Spanish sailor Cabaza de Vaca encountered the Karankawa Indians on his "Malhaldo."   While we are fortunate that his story had been recorded, many more tales are buried in legend and lore.  

In addition, Driving Historic Galveston also includes narratives that originated within structures lost over time, only viewed via vintage images when available.   By going beyond the concrete, wandering readers are encouraged to engage their imaginations for a deeper understanding into the city's past, to further appreciate the deep, rich heritage in both time and space. 

Oh, all the sites you'll see!!  Quite literally from one end of the Island to the other – almost . . .    Many of these routes in this driving guide cross those major thoroughfares featured in Walking Historic Galveston.   While brief descriptions of some historical sites are included in this guide, you will be referred to the first which contains more detailed information about others.

Vicinities explored in Beyond the Beaten Paths:  Driving Historic Galveston include:

Chapter 1 – "Driving Historic Harborside" -- more than anything else, Galveston's natural harbor played a pivotal role in the city's success, even before it was officially founded.

Chapter 2:  "East on Postoffice, West on Church Avenues" – after a brief sojourn to see "Old Red" on the U.T.M.B. campus

Chapter 3:  "Postoffice Promenade" – the guide's first designated walk

Chapter 4:  "Galveston's Victorian East End"
     A. North of Broadway,
     B.  . . . then South"

Chapter 5:  "Meandering Midtown on Way to Broadway Cemetery Walk"

Chapter 6 – "The City Spreads West – to the Airport"

Chapter 7 – "Down the Island" – beyond the Seawall to Jamaica Beach

Chapter 8 – " . . . And Back Again" – from 103rd to 25th Street (aka Rosenberg Avenue)

Chapter 9 – "All the Way East" -- to the other end of the Island

Before you take to your car to explore the streets and avenues of the Island city, please take the time to read the text and study the routes from the comfort of your armchair before venturing out in traffic.  Then, discover the many overlooked historic sites, although far-between, however you want, following your journey according to your whims:  break the routes into more manageable lengths, walk blocks, stop for lunch along the way, photograph houses, dig deeper into the cemeteries (figuratively speaking . . . ), linger longer, and let your imagination wander – whatever!   Just get started – full of colorful stories and characters, Galveston's few and far-between historical sites, off-the-beaten paths await you wandering readers!

With an ambitious aim to include everything not covered in the first book, Beyond the Beaten Paths begins portside on the street lining its natural harbor.

WALKING HISTORIC GALVESTON:
A Guide to its Neighborhoods

About the Book

In Walking Historic Galveston, each chapter is named for the historic neighborhood you will wander. Remember that the more official the area, the more information is available about its houses as a matter of public record. Please do not deviate from the route as that may cause some confusion with the text.

Thus far only five Galveston neighborhoods have been officially designated as historic districts and listed as such on the National Register. The Seawall is listed not as a neighborhood but as a kind of park. The Lost Bayou District is a local historic district, while the San Jacinto and Kempner Park Neighborhoods remain local “Districts in Waiting.” The chapters are:

Chapter 1The Strand/Mechanic Strut, the downtown business district which was the first to be nationally recognized in 1970.

Chapter 2East End Historic District, the residential district which followed five years later. This second chapter is divided into two walks: West Side Wanderings and East Side Stories.

Chapter 3Broadway Promenade: This main thoroughfare was originally included in the East End District, but this guide devotes a chapter to this “Grand American Avenue.”
Chapter 4Silk Stocking Stroll, another national historic residential district, listed in 1996.

Chapter 5Seawall Excursion: Created after the 1900 Storm following the Gulf of Mexico shoreline, it is considered an urban parkway with open beaches and public space; a park, by default. You’ll complete your excursion while driving to your next walk through the Fort Crockett area.

Chapter 6Roarin’ Twenties Realm — Denver Court. While the first four neighborhoods followed the original Groesbeck city plan, this development from 45th Street to 53rd Street deviated slightly to discourage traffic.

Chapter 7Cedar Lawn: Against the Grid, which totally disrupted the Groesbeck town plan with its “butterfly” pattern, isolating the elite in a private enclave. Both Denver Court and Cedar Lawn are recognized as national historic districts.

Chapter 8Roamin’ the Kempner Park Neighborhood: This large and diverse neighborhood, south of Broadway and west of 25th Street, is still in the talking stage of protecting its historic integrity, even though the street signs already note its distinction. Purely decoration, they do not signify any official recognition. A small part of the Old Central/Carver Park neighborhood is also included.

Chapter 9Lost Bayou District, Found: This neighborhood, within the expansive San Jacinto area, received local recognition as historic in 1994 and is protected by the city’s Landmark Commission.

Traveling instructions, whether driving to or walking the route, are given in bold type, as are addresses in this practical guide. The numbers at the beginning of each change of direction correlate with the circled numbers on the map to help the walker follow the route properly; they do not denote structures of interest. Maps are provided for every walk, but it may be helpful to carry or refer to a compass at times.

Each chapter begins where the previous walk ended, in sequence, moving east to west then back east after Cedar Lawn—as if the reader planned to do the whole book on a day’s outing. If planning your journey into Galveston’s past in a more random fashion, please understand that your beginning directions may alter a bit from how and where you choose to approach it.

Please respect the property and privacy of all residents and homeowners by staying on the public sidewalks. Note that none of the current homeowners are listed—on purpose.

Start exploring the historic districts anywhere you want, following your journey according to your whims. However, Walking Historic Galveston: A Guide to its Neighborhoods begins at the source of the city’s success: The Strand, next to the only natural harbor west of the Mississippi.

The Nine Neighborhoods In The Book.


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