Page 49 - May2017

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from the beginning—Colonel Bubbie’s Strand Surplus
Senter in the Colonel W.L. Moody Building, Old Strand
Emporium in the Mallory Produce Building, Hendley
Market and the Galveston Historical Foundation inside
Hendley Row, and LaKing’s Confectionery at the J. Smith
Brothers building.
These were the pioneers, the ones who believed in The
Strand’s potential long before it was considered sane to
do so. “When we started, things were slow, but we have
foot traffic now,” Martha King of LaKing’s told
Highways
.
“When I walk along The Strand, I can hardly believe the
progress.”
Dickens on the Strand celebrated a huge milestone in
1998 when they held their 25
th
annual festival. What
began as a small Victorian themed costume party/potluck
supper in 1973 was now fully backed by the Galveston
Historical Foundation. As the festival began to garner
nationwide attention, it attracted crowds of 50,000
people and was ranked one of the top ten festivals in
Texas.
Unfortunately, these numbers were concentrated and
temporary, and the final year of the decade saw a rash
of business closings, including Mitchell’s Wentletrap
Restaurant. Despite all of the attention The Strand
had received, it was still somewhat overlooked by a
generation of Houstonians who distinctly remembered
the area as a haven for crime, if they remembered it at
all. During that time, an exit was built off the causeway
that encouraged traffic to head directly to the Seawall. For some,
the beach was the only part of Galveston they knew.
However, many Galveston businesses at the time told a
dramatically different story, attesting that the late 1990s were
the best years yet. In 1999, Executive Director of the Chamber of
Commerce John Tindel told the
Galveston Daily News
, “I think, as
far as businesses leaving, it’s not different from many areas like it.
Sometimes businesses move in and out, and it is just a question of
finding the right fit. But overall, The Strand is growing, and I expect
to see continued steady growth there.”
2300 block of Strand
looking east, July 1999
Corner of 21st and Strand, c. 1990
gm
Mardi Gras Arch image courtesy of Subways.net
MAY 2017 |
GALVESTON MONTHLY |
49