Galveston and Hotel Galvez Milestones
 
1785
A survey expedition appointed by Bernardo de Gálvez discovers and names the Bahia de Galvezton after the Spanish colonial governor.
 
 
1900                            
 
The Great Storm, beginning on September 8, devastates Galveston, which takes years to recover.
 
 
1902                            
 
Part of the hurricane recovery process includes a long seawall, started this year and completed in 1960 at 10.4 miles long.
 
 
1910
 
The Galveston Hotel Company announces plans for a new year-round beach hotel to take the place of the seasonal Beach Hotel, which had burned in 1898.
 
Construction of the Hotel Galvez is launched the same year to help restore Galveston’s reputation as a tourist destination.
 
 
1911    
 
The hotel opens for business on June 10 at 6:00 p.m. and soon becomes the choice location for island residents’ galas and celebrations.
 
 
1915                            
 
Another hurricane hits Galveston, but the new seawall helps spare the Galvez.
 
 
 
1918
 
The hotel welcomes 40,000 guests at a daily rate of $2.  
 
 
1928                            
 
The Baker Corporation purchases the Galvez for $1 million and undertakes a modernization program.
 
 
1931                            
 
Ike Kempner and his partners, the original backers, repurchase the hotel.
 
 
1937                            
 
President Franklin D. Roosevelt makes the Galvez his official Summer White House while he fishes offshore on his yacht, the U.S.S. Potomac.
 
 
1940                            
 
W. L. Moody Jr. and his National Hotel Corporation purchase the hotel from the Kempner group and undertake new renovations. A swimming pool is added, along with a modern motel on the hotel’s east end and the members-only Galvez Club.
 
 
1942    
                       
The U.S. Coast Guard commandeers the Galvez and uses it as its wartime headquarters for the next two years, including as staff living space.
 
The Sui Jen nightclub, owned by the racketeer Sam Maceo, is renamed the Balinese Room and becomes the most popular nightclub on the Texas coast.
 
 
1957                            
 
The Galveston rackets are closed down in an island-wide raid on gambling casinos.
 
 
1961    
                       
Hurricane Carla, second in intensity only to the Great Storm of 1900, wreaks damage on the island.
 
 
1971                            
 
Moody sells the Galvez for $1 million to its fourth owner, Harvey McCarty, the first owner with no ties to Galveston, who partnered with Leon Bromberg, a BOI.
 
 
1976
 
George Mitchell purchases the Thomas Jefferson League Building and renovates it as the first of many restoration projects in the Strand.
 
 
1978                            
 
The Galvez is closed for renovations and reopens the next year under a new owner, the Mariner Corporation, and a new name, the Galvez Marriott.
 
 
1979                            
 
The National Register of Historic Places adds the hotel to its list of significant landmarks.
 
 
1983                
 
During Hurricane Alicia some guests take refuge at the Galvez, which reopens the next year after significant damage is repaired.
 
 
1985                
 
Mitchell converts the Blum Building in the Strand into a new Tremont House and launches his new hotel with a revival of the Island’s historic Mardi Gras festivals. The previous year he had built another hotel, the San Luis, on top of the historic Fort Crockett’s bunkers, along the seawall. 
 
 
1988                
 
The Galvez is sold at auction after its owners declare bankruptcy. Aetna Life Insurance Company, the mortgage holder, takes over for $7.68 million.
 
 
1993                
 
Mitchell Historic Properties purchases the hotel from Aetna for $3 million and undertakes a $20 million upgrade that restores the public spaces to recall their 1911 appearance.
 
 
1996
 
Wyndham International is retained to manage and operate the
Galvez as part of the Wyndham’s group of premier historic hotels, called Wyndham Grand Hotels.
 
 
 
2002
 
The Galvez becomes a member of the Historic Hotels of America, a consortium sponsored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
 
 
2005
 
A second renovation of the hotel, directed by the Mitchells’ daughter Sheridan Mitchell Lorenz of Austin, removes heavy drapes obscuring the Gulf views and restores the windows on the lobby level to their original appearance. Fabrics and carpets were also updated; the Oleander Garden was launched; and planning was begun for the hotel’s first spa.
 
2008    
 
The Spa at the Hotel Galvez opens in the space originally occupied by the hotel’s barbershop and drugstore.
 
Hurricane Ike comes ashore, damaging many Galveston buildings; the Mitchells step in to help direct repairs, including the quarter of the Strand’s buildings that are owned by their company.
 
 
2009    
 
Credited with launching the renaissance of Galveston’s historic downtown, George Mitchell receives the Spirit of Galveston Award from the Galveston Chamber of Commerce. 
 
 
2011
 
The Queen of the Gulf observes it centennial with events throughout the year. Activities include a Spanish cultural evening celebrating the birthday of Bernardo de Gálvez, a mass wedding vow renewal for former guests who were married at the hotel, outdoor concerts, and fireworks.