Jamaica Beach, Texas

Coordinates: 29°11′31″N 94°58′50″W / 29.19194°N 94.98056°W / 29.19194; -94.98056
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City of Jamaica Beach
Jamaica Beach City Hall
Jamaica Beach City Hall
Official seal of City of Jamaica Beach
"A Great Place to Visit, but an even Better Place to Live"
Location of Jamaica Beach, Texas
Location of Jamaica Beach, Texas
Coordinates: 29°11′31″N 94°58′50″W / 29.19194°N 94.98056°W / 29.19194; -94.98056
CountryUnited States
 • TypeGeneral law
 • MayorClay Morris
 • Total0.72 sq mi (1.86 km2)
 • Land0.58 sq mi (1.50 km2)
 • Water0.14 sq mi (0.35 km2)
3 ft (1 m)
 • Total1,078
 • Density1,500/sq mi (580/km2)
Time zoneUTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
77550, 77554
Area code409
FIPS code48-37252[2]
GNIS feature ID1388565[3]

Jamaica Beach is a city in Galveston County, Texas, United States on Galveston Island. As of the 2020 census, the city's population was 1,078. the city is bordered by Galveston to the east and west, the east bay on the north and the Gulf of Mexico to the south.


Karankawa Indian Historical Marker in Jamaica Beach

Prior to its development, Jamaica Beach was a burial ground of the Karankawa people. Johnny Goyen and Earl Galceran of the Jamaica Corporation developed Jamaica Beach as a 2,000-lot resort subdivision in close proximity to a marina.[4] The individuals who were a part of the development effort were Goyen, Galceran, brothers Jack and Welcome Wilson, Bill Sherrill, and Jack Valenti. They acquired an area of 320 acres (130 ha) that was owned by the Moody family. An oil businessperson named R.E. "Bob" Smith decided not to be a partner in the development, but he purchased the Moody land and sold it to the developers. He did not ask for any down payments and he guaranteed a $250,000 bank loan. Initially, the beachfront lots, each 90 feet (27 m), were sold for $3,500 apiece. The "second row" houses sold at a quick pace. As the subsequent rows of houses opened to sale, the sales figures decreased slowly because while wealthy people were easily able to acquire second houses, middle class homebuyers were unable to get a mortgage, and needed to pay for the homebuilding with cash.[5]

In the 1960s, the discovery of a skull and that it was connected to a Karankawa Native American burial ground led to an increase in public exposure and visitors. Welcome Wilson said that no additional sales were generated by the publicity. With the growth of the second house market, almost all of the lots on Jamaica Beach had been sold by the 1970s. Due to a decline in the United States economy, the developer closed its doors.[5] The city incorporated on May 12, 1975. By 1978, 141 residents lived in Jamaica Beach. By 1988, the city had 446 residents and no businesses. By 1990, the city had 624 residents.[4]

Jamaica Beach was affected by Hurricane Alicia in August 1983. In September 2008, the city was affected by Hurricane Ike.[6]

On Saturday August 9, 2008, Jamaica Beach celebrated the 50th anniversary of its groundbreaking. At the ceremony, Welcome Wilson donated boxes of news articles, brochures, and promotional materials in order to build a collection for a museum located at the city hall. In addition, the five children of Welcome Wilson donated $10,000 to the new museum.[5]


Jamaica Beach is located at 29°11′31″N 94°58′50″W / 29.19194°N 94.98056°W / 29.19194; -94.98056 (29.192080, –94.980488).[7]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.77 square miles (2.0 km2), of which 0.19 square miles (0.5 km2), or 24.57%, is covered by water.[8]

The city has several pirate-themed street names. They include "Blackbeard", "Buccaneer", "Captain Hook", "Captain Kidd". "Francis Drake", "John Davis", "Jean Lafitte", "Mansvelt", "Henry Morgan", "John Silver", and "Edward Teach".[9]



Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
Map of Jamaica Beach

2020 Census data[edit]

Jamaica Beach racial composition[11]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Number Percentage
White (NH) 940 87.2%
Black or African American (NH) 4 0.37%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 4 0.37%
Asian (NH) 14 1.3%
Some Other Race (NH) 2 0.19%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 31 2.88%
Hispanic or Latino 83 7.7%
Total 1,078

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 1,078 people, 704 households, and 339 families residing in the city.

2000 Census data[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 1,075 people, 483 households, and 303 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,487.7 inhabitants per square mile (574.4/km2). There were 1,078 housing units at an average density of 1,491.8 per square mile (576.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.07% White, 0.37% African American, 0.37% Native American, 0.56% Asian, 1.95% from other races, and 1.67% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.56% of the population.

There were 483 households, out of which 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.8% were married couples living together, 6.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.1% were non-families. 27.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.74.

In the city, the population was 20.3% under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 31.9% from 25 to 44, 28.4% from 45 to 64, and 14.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.8 males. The median income for a household in the city was $52,045, and the median income for a family was $66,250. Males had a median income of $42,411 versus $31,875 for females. The per capita income for the city was $30,943. About 5.7% of families and 7.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.4% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.

Government and infrastructure[edit]

West Galveston Island Contract Post Office in Jamaica Beach

As of 2008 the City Council includes Mayor Victor Pierson, Mayor Pro Tem Steve Spicer, and four aldermen (Brad South, Eddie Burke, Sherwood Green, and Mary Morse).[14] The city council established the Jamaica Beach Police Department in 1978; as of 2008 the department has one chief, one lieutenant, and five police officers. Jamaica Beach contracted its dispatching to the City of Hitchcock. After a large brush fire, the city created the Jamaica Beach Volunteer Fire Department and EMS in 1976. The city also has a municipal court, a water and sewer department, and a building department.[15]

In November 2007 a United States Postal Service Contract Postal Unit opened inside a local business in Jamaica Beach.[16] The West Galveston Contract Unit (77554-9998) is at Bob Smith Drive near Farm to Market Road 3005.


Pupils in Jamaica Beach are within the Galveston Independent School District.[17] As of 2020 there are no particular attendance boundaries in GISD so parents may apply to any school they wish.[18] Ball High School (9–12) in Galveston is the district's sole comprehensive high school.

Previously students are zoned to Oppe Elementary School (K–4) and Weis Middle School (6–8).[19]

Galveston ISD (and therefore Jamaica Beach) is assigned to Galveston College in Galveston.[20]

Texas A&M University at Galveston is in nearby Galveston.


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ a b Jamaica Beach, Texas from the Handbook of Texas Online
  5. ^ a b c Elder, Laura. "Wilson put out West End's Welcome mat[permanent dead link]." The Galveston Daily News. Sunday August 10, 2008. Vol. 166, No. 118. A1 and A7. Retrieved on January 15, 2012.
  6. ^ Langford, Terri and Dale Lezon. "Jamaica Beach residents allowed to inspect homes." Houston Chronicle. September 20, 2008. Retrieved on January 16, 2012.
  7. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  8. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Jamaica Beach city, Texas". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 6, 2012.
  9. ^ "A pirate's life for me/Houston's quirkiest street names." (click the picture of the pirate) Houston Chronicle. Retrieved on February 12, 2015.
  10. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  11. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved May 22, 2022.
  12. ^ https://www.census.gov/ [not specific enough to verify]
  13. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". www.census.gov. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  14. ^ "City Council Information Archived 2008-09-13 at the Wayback Machine." City of Jamaica Beach. Accessed September 15, 2008.
  15. ^ "Departments." City of Jamaica Beach. Accessed September 15, 2008.
  16. ^ "The Galveston County Daily News". Archived from the original on March 3, 2008. Retrieved October 27, 2008.
  17. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Galveston County, TX" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  18. ^ "Schools of Choice". Galveston Independent School District. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  19. ^ "School Attendance Zones". Galveston Independent School District. Archived from the original on May 12, 2004. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  20. ^ Texas Education Code, Section 130.179, "Galveston College District Service Area Archived 2009-02-11 at the Wayback Machine".
  1. ^ Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.[12][13]

External links[edit]