One of the greatest example of resilience in Texas, indeed United States, history was the building of the Galveston seawall and the raising of the city. After the Great Hurricane of 1900, the easiest thing to do would have been to abandon Galveston Island. But that wouldn’t be the Texan thing to do. Instead, the people of Galveston appointed three engineers to figure out how to defeat the next big hurricane. The 3-member board suggested the construction of a 3-mile seawall to protect the city against a storm surge. But they went even further. They proposed raising the city as much as 17 feet in some places, houses, buildings an all. So the citizens of Galveston went to work and created the Galveston we know today. Buildings as large as 3000 tons were raised one-half inch at a time! It worked. For over 100 years, the Galveston seawall has been a center of tourism in Texas as well as a barrier against destruction. It passed its first test in 1909 and its first big test in 1915–with flying colors. Tune in to this latest episode of Wise About Texas and get ready for hurricane season!
In 1914, San Antonio beer magnate Otto Koehler was killed by his mistress, Emma. His former mistress, also named Emma, was present. Was it self defense? Was it planned? Did she get him before he got her? What became of his wife named, yes, Emma? Some said it was murder, some said self defense. Some said Otto attacked his killer, some said he would never have done that. One Emma claimed Otto was desperately in love, another Emma advised he was just desperate. What did the jury say? Hear the strange story of the death of one of Texas’ most prominent citizens in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.
In 1818, one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s top generals, and many of his former officers, tried to establish a French colony in Texas. They said it was for agriculture, but they brought a ship full of weapons and built a fort on the Trinity River. Were they going to incite revolution in Mexico, or did they have their sights set on Spanish Florida? Why was the infamous pirate Jean Lafitte so eager to offer them help? Somehow they were going to free Napoleon and use Texas to establish his empire! Learn about the failed French colony of Champ D’Asile in this episode of Wise About Texas.
Merry Christmas to all! In this episode we take a light look at some of the traditions that make a Texas Christmas. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and Merry Texas Christmas!
Virginia Point was a transportation hub, civil war fort and cotton producing town on the shores of Galvesston Bay. It was part of Austin’s “coast colony” and was considered as an early port of the Republic. The Confederate forces launched the attack that recaptured Galveston from Virginia Point. Learn more about this Texas town in the latest episode in the Texas Towns series of Wise About Texas.
In honor of the one-year anniversary of Wise About Texas, I take the show professional. I conducted an interview with professional historian Dr. Jody Edward Ginn, PhD. Dr. Ginn discusses his varied career in museums, books and even movies. His insights into why Texas history is important will educate and inspire your love of Texas history. Pull up a chair and listen to a professional discuss how to preserve and promote Texas history.
For over 50 years, Texans gathered at the Walls Unit in Huntsville Texas to watch the toughest convicts compete in the Texas Prison Rodeo. The rodeo was a fixture of Texas Octobers until budgets and changing times brought an end to the roughest rodeo around. In this episode, you’ll relive those days and hear the story of the Texas Prison Rodeo.
The first man to fly a powered aircraft was a Texan named Jacob Brodbeck. History credits the Wright brothers but it’s time to correct the record! Learn about German immigration, a fascinating Texan, and the first airplane flight in this episode of Wise About Texas.
One hump or two? Camels came to Texas in the 1850’s and the ships of the desert proved themselves great Texans! There might even be one or two still wandering around! Learn more about the great camel experiment in this episode of Wise About Texas.
The worst natural disaster in American history occurred on September 8, 1900 when a massive hurricane hit Galveston, Texas. At the time, Galveston was the largest city in Texas and one of the most prosperous in the country. Weather forecasting was not keeping pace with prosperity, however, and the folks in Galveston had no way to know what was about to hit the island. In part 1, you’ll learn about victorian-era Galveston and the weathermen who thought they understood hurricanes. This episode will take you through the morning of September 8, a day that changed Galveston, and Texas, forever.
In 1837, John James Audubon needed a trip to Texas to complete his legendary Bird of America. He came to Galveston and collected many wonderful specimens. But the story is about a lot more than birds. We have rattlesnakes, sawfish, secret agents, soldier skulls and Sam Houston. Hear about Audubon’s visit in the latest episode of Wise About Texas.
In the middle of a hot Texas summer, let’s head for the beach! San Jose Island is bordered by Matagorda to the north and Mustang to the south. Texas barrier islands all have their unique stories and San Jose is no different. It has seen explorers, ranchers, entrepreneurs and soldiers. These islands together hold the last of an endangered species as well as the first private space flight. Learn how San Jose island, and its neighbors, played an important role in U.S. political history.
Merry Christmas…that’s Cowboy Christmas of course. July 4 is called Cowboy Christmas because of all the great rodeos held around the 4th of July holiday. In this episode we take a look at the history of rodeo going all the way back to the 16th century. Learn how the modern sport of rodeo evolved from old Mexico to modern day Texas. It all seemed to happen on and around July 4! Saddle up and hang on for a great ride through Texas history and learn about the surprise 1843 rodeo that led to an indian peace treaty!
In the first of a new series on Texas Towns we take a look at the town of Texana, once a booming Texas port city, now claimed by the water she once commanded.
Crush, Texas was the second largest city in Texas for a few hours in September, 1896. Learn about a Texas-sized publicity stunt that was the biggest and, unfortunately the deadliest in Texas history. It was a train wreck in more ways than one. Travel back to the glory days of rail travel and learn about the great “Crash at Crush!”
In Episode 8, you learned how Bob Fitzsimmons won the heavyweight championship on a sandbar in the Rio Grande. In this bonus episode, learn how Fitzsimmons’ next fight cost the legendary Wyatt Earp his gun…and his reputation!
In 1896, the biggest sporting event in the nation was to be a fight for the heavyweight championship. But its location was a secret! Armed Soldiers from Mexico, Arizona, and the Texas Rangers had it stopped, until the “Law West of the Pecos,” Judge Roy Bean managed to take it international–sort of. Learn about Texas ingenuity in Episode 8 of Wise About Texas.