Galveston County, Texas

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Galveston County, Texas
Galveston County Justice Center.jpg
Galveston County Courts Building
Seal of Galveston County, Texas
Seal
Map of Texas highlighting Galveston County
Location in the state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
Founded 1838
Seat Galveston
Largest city League City
Area
 • Total 874 sq mi (2,264 km2)
 • Land 379 sq mi (982 km2)
 • Water 495 sq mi (1,282 km2), 56.6%
Population
 • (2010) 291,309
 • Density 732/sq mi (283/km²)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Website www.co.galveston.tx.us

Galveston County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, the population was 291,309.[1] Its county seat is Galveston. League City is the largest city in Galveston County in terms of population; [1] between 2000 and 2005 it surpassed Galveston as the county's largest city. Galveston County was founded in 1838.

Galveston County is part of the Houston–The Woodlands–Sugar Land metropolitan area.

History[edit]

One of the first major settlements in the area that is now Galveston County was the town of Campeche on Galveston Island, created by the pirate Jean Lafitte. Lafitte created a prosperous pirate kingdom around the Galveston Bay until the United States Navy ousted him from the area. The area came under Mexican rule where Galveston became a significant port through the Texas Revolution.

Galveston County was formally established under the Republic of Texas on May 15, 1838.[2] The county was formed from territory taken from Harrisburg, Liberty, and Brazoria counties, with governmental organization taking place in 1839.[3] The island and city of Galveston was by far the most important population center. The city of Galveston was the republic's largest city and its center of commerce and culture. Port Bolivar on the Bolivar Peninsula was a port of secondary importance. Other development in the area was initially mostly ranching interests and small farming communities. Texas soon joined the United States and Galveston's importance continued to grow as it came to dominate the worldwide cotton trade. As railroads between Galveston, Harrisburg, Houston and other towns were built during the 19th century, small communities grew up along the rail lines. Nevertheless, Galveston still dominated. At the end of the 19th century, a group of investors established Texas City directly across the West Bay from Galveston with the hope of making it a competing port city. The port began operations just before the start of the 20th century.

Map of Galveston County in 1879

The 1900 Galveston Hurricane devastated the county killing an estimated 6000 people on the island alone and numerous others in the rest of the county. The Port of Galveston was closed for some time as rebuilding occurred. The Port of Texas City, however, was able to re-open almost immediately allowing shipping through Galveston County to continue largely unimpeded and proving the merit of the new port city.

Investors had long worried that the Texas coast was a dangerous place to establish major commercial operations because of the threat of hurricanes, and the 1900 disaster seemed to prove that. Though Galveston rebuilt its port and other major operations quickly, major investment moved inland, largely to Houston. Soon Houston and Texas City had outpaced Galveston as major ports.

The oil boom in Texas began in 1901 and soon pipelines and refineries were built in Texas City. Industrial growth blossomed, especially during World War II. Galveston's manufacturing sector, however, was more stagnant during the 20th century.

Galveston, traditionally an attractive tourist destination even before the storm, transformed itself into a major, nationally known destination. This trend reached its height with the rise of the Maceo crime syndicate which controlled Galveston establishing a business empire based on gambling, bootlegging, and prostitution. The island's entertainment business spread throughout the county with major casino districts in Kemah and Dickinson enabled by a lax attitude among law enforcement in the county (Houstonians often humorously referred to the Galveston County line as the Maceo-Dickinson line). The county prospered as oil fueled Texas City's industrial growth and wealthy tourists flocked to Galveston and the other entertainment districts.

The gambling empire was destroyed in the 1950s as state law enforcement finally dismantled it. Galveston's economy crashed as did the economies of some other county municipalities that were dependent on tourism. Texas City's economy weathered the storm because of its strong industry.

The establishment on NASA's Johnson Space Center in 1963 soon created new growth opportunities for the county municipalities near Clear Lake and Harris County. The Clear Lake area communities in Harris and Galveston Counties soon became more tied toward each other which the island of Galveston languished for many years as businesses increasingly left for the mainland.

Tourism, of the more legitimate variety, has gradually redeveloped in the county, both on the island and on the mainland, and today has become a major industry in the county. Aerospace and related service industries continue to be important in the Clear Lake area of the county. Texas City has become an important petrochemical center.


Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 874 square miles (2,260 km2), of which 379 square miles (980 km2) is land and 495 square miles (1,280 km2) (56.6%) is water.[4]

Galveston County is located on the plains of the Texas Gulf Coast in the southeastern part of the state. The county is bounded on the northeast by Galveston Bay and on the northwest by Clear Creek and Clear Lake. Much of the county covers Galveston Bay, and is bounded to the south by the Galveston Seawall and beaches on the Gulf of Mexico.

Adjacent counties[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 4,529
1860 8,229 81.7%
1870 15,290 85.8%
1880 24,121 57.8%
1890 31,476 30.5%
1900 44,116 40.2%
1910 44,479 0.8%
1920 53,150 19.5%
1930 64,401 21.2%
1940 81,173 26.0%
1950 113,066 39.3%
1960 140,364 24.1%
1970 169,812 21.0%
1980 195,940 15.4%
1990 217,399 11.0%
2000 250,158 15.1%
2010 291,309 16.5%
Est. 2012 300,484 3.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[5]
1850-2010[6]
2012 Estimate[1]

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 250,158 people, 94,782 households, and 66,157 families residing in the county. The population density was 628 people per square mile (242/km²). There were 111,733 housing units at an average density of 280 per square mile (108/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 72.69% White, 15.44% Black or African American, 0.47% Native American, 2.10% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 7.18% from other races, and 2.08% from two or more races. 17.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 94,782 households out of which 33.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.40% were married couples living together, 13.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.20% were non-families. 25.10% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.70% under the age of 18, 8.70% from 18 to 24, 30.20% from 25 to 44, 23.30% from 45 to 64, and 11.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 95.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $42,419, and the median income for a family was $51,435. Males had a median income of $41,406 versus $28,703 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,568. About 10.10% of families and 13.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.60% of those under age 18 and 10.20% of those age 65 or over.

Politics[edit]

United States Congress[edit]

Senators Name Party First Elected Level
  Senate Class 2 John Cornyn Republican 2002 Senior Senator
  Senate Class 1 Ted Cruz Republican 2013 Junior Senator
Representatives Name Party First Elected
  District 14 Randy Weber Republican 2013

Texas Legislature[edit]

Texas Senate[edit]

District Name Party First Elected
  11 Larry Taylor Republican 1999

Texas House of Representatives[edit]

District Name Party First Elected Area(s) of Galveston County Represented
  23 Craig Eiland Democratic 1994 Galveston, Jamaica Beach, Texas City, Port Bolivar, Crystal Beach, Gilchrist & High Island
  24 Greg Bonnen Republican 2012 Hitchcock, La Marque, Santa Fe, Dickinson, League City, Friendswood (Galveston County part), Algoa, Kemah, Clear Lake Shores
Galveston County Administrative Courthouse
The Joe Max Taylor Galveston Law Enforcement Facility includes the main station of the Galveston County Sheriff's Office

Education[edit]

School districts serving Galveston County communities are:

Higher Education[edit]

Galveston County is home to Texas A&M University at Galveston and the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Three community colleges also serve the area: College of the Mainland, Galveston College and San Jacinto College.

Public Libraries[edit]

The Galveston County Library System operates libraries in most of the larger towns and cities. The Rosenberg Library in Galveston has the distinction of being the oldest public library in Texas and serves as the headquarters for the Galveston County Library System. Its librarian also functions as the Galveston County librarian. There are also seven other libraries in Galveston County. They include the Genevieve Miller Library in Hitchcock, the La Marque Public Library, the Helen Hall Public Library in League City, the Moore Memorial Public Library in Texas City, the Mares Memorial Library in Dickinson, the Friendswood Public Library, and the Mae Bruce Library in Santa Fe.

Political organization[edit]

The head of a Texas County, as set up in the Texas Constitution, is the County Judge, who sits as the chair of the county's Commissioners Court.[8] The county is split into four geographical divisions called Precincts. Each precinct elects a Commissioner to sit as a representative of their precinct on the commissioners court and also for the oversight of county functions in their area.

Other elected positions in Galveston County include a county clerk, a district attorney, a district clerk, a county clerk, a sheriff, nine constables, a tax assessor-collector, a county treasurer, and every judge in the county except municipal judges, who are appointed by the officials of their respective cities.[9]

Hospital services[edit]

Galveston County is served by a major medical complex in Galveston and a private for-profit hospital in Texas City.

The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston is a 1,200 bed, major medical complex of seven hospitals. The main general care hospital is John Sealy Hospital, with other on-campus hospitals specializing in women, children, burn victims, geriatrics, and psychiatrics. Currently, UTMB is certified as a Level I Trauma Center and serves as the lead trauma facility for the nine-county region in southeast Texas, including the Greater Houston area.[10]

The Mainland Medical Center, a 233 bed, private, for-profit hospital, operates in Texas City.[11]

Transportation[edit]

Major Highways[edit]

Airports[edit]

Scholes International Airport at Galveston (IATA: GLSICAO: KGLS), the county's sole publicly owned airport, is a two-runway airport located on Galveston Island in Galveston. The airport is primarily used for general aviation, offshore energy transportation, and some limited military operations.

Privately owned airports for private use include:

The closest airport with regularly scheduled commercial service is William P. Hobby Airport, located in Houston in adjacent Harris County.[citation needed] The Houston Airport System stated that Galveston County is also within the primary service area of George Bush Intercontinental Airport, an international airport in Houston in Harris County.[12]

Private heliports for private use include:

Rail[edit]

All rail traffic is currently industrial-related. Regularly scheduled passenger rail service in Galveston County ceased on April 11, 1967.[13]

Mass transit[edit]

The City of Galveston is served by Island Transit, a public transportation agency.

Crime[edit]

In the unincorporated areas of the county, in 2002 1,267 criminal offenses were recorded. In 2003 1,136 criminal offenses were reported in unincorporated areas, including 507 thefts, 153 motor vehicle thefts, 313 burglaries, two murders and one rape. In 2004, 836 offenses were reported, including 369 thefts, 84 motor vehicle thefts, 236 burglaries, two murders and 26 rapes. In 2004, considering all of the reported offenses, arrests occurred in 85 of those cases.[14]

Between 2003 and 2004 there was a decline in overall reported offenses by 300, or a 26.4% decrease. The crime with the largest percentage decrease from 2003 to 2004 was motor vehicle thefts. County sheriff Gean Leonard said "I'd have to say the combination of public education and more public consciousness about where they park and how they leave their cars, especially not leaving keys in cars, has certainly helped."[14]

Corrections[edit]

The Galveston County Jail is located at 5700 Avenue H in Galveston.[15]

The Texas Department of Criminal Justice and University of Texas Medical Branch manage health care facilities for prisoners in Galveston, Galveston County. The facilities include the co-gender Galveston Hospital for prisoners in Galveston[16] and the Young Medical Facility Complex for females in Texas City.[17] Hospital Galveston began contracting for medical treatment of prisoners in 1983.[18] Young opened in 1996 as the Texas City Regional Medical Unit.[19]

Communities[edit]

Galveston County has unincorporated areas in several areas. Most of them are on the Bolivar Peninsula. Others are outside of Hitchcock and Santa Fe along Texas State Highway 6, and the three communities in the "Bayshore" area: Bacliff, San Leon, and Bayview.[14]

Cities[edit]

Villages[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Unincorporated areas[edit]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  2. ^ Office of the Auditor of Galveston County, Texas. "Galveston County 2007 Comprehensive Financial Report". Galveston County, Texas. Retrieved 2010-11-12. 
  3. ^ Galveston County, Texas from the Handbook of Texas Online
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved December 16, 2013. 
  6. ^ Texas Almanac: County Population History 1850-2010 Retrieved December 16, 2013
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  8. ^ Galveston County, http://www.co.galveston.tx.us/County_Judge/default.htm
  9. ^ Galveston County Homepage, http://www.co.galveston.tx.us/
  10. ^ UTMB School of Allied Health Sciences, http://sahs.utmb.edu/respiratory_care/current/Table_of_Contents/01-HANDBOOK-Aug-2007%20gs.pdf
  11. ^ Mainland Medical Center, http://www.mainlandmedical.com/CustomPage.asp?guidCustomContentID={263215B6-AC55-4276-A52B-B8F34390E0BE}
  12. ^ "Master Plan Executive Summary." George Bush Intercontinental Airport Master Plan. Houston Airport System. December 2006. 2-1 (23/130). Retrieved on December 14, 2010.
  13. ^ Galveston County Railroad Museum, http://www.galvestonrrmuseum.com/explore.htm
  14. ^ a b c Evans, Thayer. "Crime numbers go down - Figures drop 26.4 percent in unincorporated Galveston County." Houston Chronicle. Thursday February 3, 2005. ThisWeek p. 1. "Other unincorporated areas are along Texas 6 outside Hitchcock and Santa Fe and in the Bayshore area, which includes Bacliff, Bayview and San Leon." Available at NewsBank Record Number: 3841079.
  15. ^ "Corrections Bureau - Jail Division." Galveston County Sheriff's Office. Accessed September 12, 2008.
  16. ^ "Hospital Galveston." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Accessed September 12, 2008.
  17. ^ "YOUNG MEDICAL FACILITY COMPLEX (GC)." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Accessed September 12, 2008.
  18. ^ Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Turner Publishing Company, 2004. 50. ISBN 1-56311-964-1, ISBN 978-1-56311-964-4.
  19. ^ Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Turner Publishing Company, 2004. 51. ISBN 1-56311-964-1, ISBN 978-1-56311-964-4.
  20. ^ "ASHE, John Baptista, (1810 - 1857)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  21. ^ "88 Dez Bryant, R". CBSSports.com. Retrieved November 21, 2012. 
  22. ^ "Red Bryant". Pro-Football-Reference.Com. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Petitt, Jr., B.M. and A.G. Winslow. (1957). Geology and ground-water resources of Galveston County, Texas [U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 1416]. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.

External links[edit]


Coordinates: 29°23′N 94°52′W / 29.38°N 94.86°W / 29.38; -94.86