Considered as a National Historic Landmark District in the United States, Strand District or also known as the Strand Historic District; is a street located at downtown Galveston and offers a scenic and magnificent view of Victorian era buildings and infrastructures. The Strand District is also considered as a major tourist location in the city, and also plays host to two seasonal festivals. The History of The Strand District in Galveston offers vast and interesting facts and information that will surely attract tourists and visitors not only in the United States, but also in some parts of the world to come to this wonderful district.
Strand Historic District
Michael William Shaw, a German immigrant was the one who changed the name of the street from Avenue B to Strand, after he convinced other store owners of the street that the word Strand would have a higher-class connotation for their products, particularly with Michael’s jewelry store. The word soon reached the ears and attention of the people who visited the street, and soon the word stuck and is still used up to this date.
The district’s first batch of infrastructures were mainly built with wood, which are vulnerable to fires and storms which was a common weather disturbance that hit the island frequently, particularly in the 19th century. Soon after, the infrastructures in the district were replaced with bricks, which were more durable and could withstand different weather disturbances; in fact two of the oldest buildings in the district can still be seen in the district, these buildings were erected in 1855 and 1858.
The Strand District became a popular place for major businesses because of the Port Galveston’s massive vessel traffic. Major businesses which include Texas’ five largest banks, cotton brokers, commission merchants, wholesalers, attorneys and even slave auctioneers have opened their businesses in the Strand District, making the district sell an approximate amount of $38 million worth of services and merchandise in 1881.
However, the district suffered massive damages during the Civil War, this is because of the district’s close proximity to the Galveston’s harbor. This was followed by the devastating Galveston Hurricane which devastated the city in 1990. The hurricane resulted in a massive damage of properties, particularly in the district. The Strand District became a warehouse district after the hurricane, as business owners moved away from the wharf to prevent the same loss they had experienced during the hurricane. However, the Strand District soon began to revive its glory in the 1960s when Galveston restored two buildings.
The restoration soon started a revitalization project in the 1970s, in which Mitchell Historic Properties, saw the district’s need to revive as well as to preserve its History. Mitchell Historic Properties soon began restoring several infrastructures, along with encouraging the Galveston Historical Foundation to play a major role in the preservation of not only buildings but homes on the island too.
The restoration of the Strand District is still ongoing up to this date, but the efforts by Mitchell Historic Properties gave the Strand District a new glow. The district’s renovated and reinforced renaissance era buildings have attracted several people, not only tourists but business owners as well. Several businesses, which include, restaurants, hotels and tea & coffee shops can be seen here, giving tourists the best place and accommodation they deserve. Historical galleries and museums can also be found at the area, giving tourists a sufficient and thorough information about the History of the Strand District in Galveston.