Friday, July 29, 2011
Booty: Galvez Town Yesterday and Today
First, Galveston: this island, originally known as St. Louis in the 16th century, was named after explorer Bernardo Galvez who staked it out for Spain. It remained uninhabited until the early 19th century when Louis Aury tried to establish an ill-fated privateering base there. The Laffite brothers mopped up Aury’s mess and turned the island into a thriving hub for privateers and smugglers alike.
Now a new Laffite-centric attraction will premiere at The Strand. According to this article from the Galveston Daily News, Joyce McLean is putting together an attraction she’s calling Pirates! Legends of the Gulf Coast. It will be built to resemble the deck and great cabin of a pirate ship and feature “… myths and legends…” of the Laffite brothers. Pirates! will also serve up information about Jane Long, the so called “Mother of Texas” who once dined with Jean Laffite. While Ms. McLean states that Pirates! will be a “… fact-based interactive, fun experience,” I’ll withhold judgment on the facts clause until my next visit to Galveston. I’ve absolutely no doubt about the fun, however.
Next up is this snippet from the St. Augustine Record. It goes without saying the oldest city in the U.S. has a long history of seafaring so it was probably no big surprise when three oak ribs of a sailing ship were found near Savilla Street. Though the article does not pin point a date, the ship is from the 18th century and the pieces are now in Malaga, Spain (home of one of the most talented artists I know). There they will form the base of a rebuilt replica of the ship named Galveztown. Interestingly, oak from the St. Augustine area is being used in her construction. Though the article is sketchy on details and manages to confuse a brigantine with a galley, the end result – if it is realized – will be a wonderful piece of living history. The vision is to crew Galveztown with a combined U.S. and Spanish crew and use it as a teaching vessel during cruises between Malaga and St. Augustine. Put me on the waiting list!
Header: The Strand at Galveston via Galveston Tourism