Page 30 - Apr2017

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By 1981, people were calling for the plaza to be removed and the street
to be reopened and by 1985, stores were closing weekly. That same year,
representatives from Eiband’s met with the city and insisted that they assume
control of the plaza’s maintenance. The city agreed, but not coincidentally
within a year they were planning for its removal.
The city’s desire was conveniently aided by both the development of the
Galvez Mall in 1986, which promptly filled the plaza’s niche, and the creation
of Galveston’s trolley system, the route of which was plotted to go directly
through Central Plaza. Thus the north half of the mall was removed to make
way for the laying of the trolley tracks, a move that was met with some
opposition by residents who thought the green space advantageous to the
area. A group of protestors planted flowers all along the plaza as a tribute to
its existence, and in the hopes that the city would be satisfied with the trolley
tracks and not attempt to open the other lane back up to vehicular traffic.
These hopes would prove unfounded, however, and on March 1, 1988 the city
held a public hearing to discuss the permanent removal of the plaza and the
reinstallation of a roadway adjacent to the tracks. The support for the measure
was overwhelming, and the last of Central Plaza was removed later that year.
Today, Postoffice Street has reclaimed its vitality and is a vivid collection of
art galleries, clothing boutiques, specialty stores, and restaurants. It is the host
to ArtOberFest every fall, one of Galveston’s most popular festivals, as well as
ArtWalk held every six weeks.
Regrettably, Postoffice is still often overlooked. The
problem realized in the 1980s of linking it with the
Strand is still very much a reality, perpetuated by
the lack of development on the blocks between
the two streets.
All hope is not lost, however, and the
continued growth of these two streets will
hopefully, eventually merge
and lead to Galveston’s next
reinvention—one of a collective,
cohesive downtown.
David W. Moore’s 1975 bronze
statue of two dolphins was
originally a fountainhead in Central
Plaza at 22nd Street and Postoffice
before it was moved to its present
location on the 4900 block of
Seawall in 1994. Popular as a photo
site, it was a gift to the citizens
of Galveston from the Galveston
Foundation and John W. Harris.
Did You
Know?
Central Plaza 2100 block looking west, c. 1983
Central Plaza at 21st and Postoffice looking east, c. 1975
Central Plaza 21st and Postoffice looking west, c. 1975
gm
30 |
GALVESTON MONTHLY |
APRIL 2017