Page 35 - June2017

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Corner of Market Street and 23rd
Street looking east, c. late 1890s
Market & 22nd Street looking west with L.
Fellman & Co. Dry Goods on left, c. 1885
The Block of All AgeS
This is the first in a three-part Galveston Lost summer reading
series about the block of downtown where the former Bank of
America building resides, with an address of 2200 Market Street.
It is located between 22
and 23
Streets, bordered to the north
by Mechanic Street and to the south by Market.
he second half of the twentieth century was an
interesting time in Galveston. Although it was not
teeming with the Victorian drama of the 19
or pulsating with the feverish activity of that thirty-
year span that started with Prohibition, it was not without
its own intriguing idiosyncrasies. Yet while other eras will
frequently elicit a gasp of amazement or a fascinated curiosity,
Galveston’s recent history is known to often bring about a
number of head-scratches and only one question:
Fortunately, in several instances, the opportunistic were
usurped by the tenacity of others who opted to seize the
historical value of the city during this time. Without the
intervention of a group of steadfast citizens and the formation
of the Galveston Historical Foundation, the 1960s would have
turned the Strand into a thoroughfare and downtown Galveston
By Kimber Fountain
into a parking lot. Even the 1970s saw the opening of Central
Plaza on Postoffice Street that seamlessly integrated historic
buildings and a modern trend of outdoor shopping malls.
But the 1980s were not so kind, and the area between these
two rehabilitated interchanges suffered heavily in the name of
progress, none more so than the block of downtown situated
between Market and Mechanic Streets, bounded by 22
Streets. Although much of the block’s history had already
been lost by 1983 when the current structure was put into
place, the sheer size and design of it would eventually create
a seemingly impassable crevasse in the middle of downtown
that was deepened even further when its namesake, Bank of
America, recently closed the branch that was located inside of it.
The earliest surviving map that outlines the block in detail was
created in 1877 by Sanborn Maps. Founded by Daniel Alfred
Sanborn in 1867, the company was famous nationwide for creating
thorough maps initially created to assess fire insurance liability
amounts for urban cities across the country. In total the company
produced over 1.2 million maps from its inception until 1970.
Fortunately, many of the maps created for the City of Galveston
survived and are archived at the University of Texas at Austin.
Past & Present |
Galveston Lost
Images courtesy of Rosenberg Library
JUNE 2017 |