The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967 Page: 155
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Galveston lovers. Having skipped the foreword and only glanced
through the pictures, they conclude the author was both blind
and poorly informed not to know that Galveston is humming
with activity today, despite past onslaughts by epidemics, hurri-
canes, and slander. It still graces a pleasant, semi-tropical island
in the Gulf of Mexico and stands, a living monument to its in-
habitants, past and present.
The reviewer does wish that the editors had found it possible to
place the text adjacent to the beautiful illustrations rather than
pages away, as is frequently the case. This wide separation of
narrative and pictures doubtless results in a neglect of the text.
Historically speaking (not architecturally speaking), The Gal-
veston That Was, in the reviewer's opinion, cannot safely be
used as reference material. Three minor examples suffice to point
this out. In the text, John Sydnor is referred to as "the first
mayor of Galveston." His place in history could be secured by
other and more important accomplishments, but he was not the
first mayor of Galveston. That honor belongs to John M. Allen.
Perhaps Andrew Morrison should be held responsible for this,
and not the author who quotes him for the fact that: "so late
as 1839 not a pier nor a pile marked the harbor from Bolivar
Roads to Virginia Point." Amasa Turner brought his family from
Mobile, Alabama, to Galveston in 1837 and renovated the old
Mexican customhouse into a home and boarding house, grandly
termed a hotel. He built a pier, jutting far out into the bay from
his place, but not far enough to reach deep water. The ships
still had to be "lightered" and that resulted in its failure as a
wharf. Thus it was left to Samuel May Williams and Thomas F.
McKinney to construct the first successful wharf. In the introduc-
tion is the statement: "All of the handsome trees one now sees
date from 1903-1905." Whether an oldtimer or not, someone
with a little knowledge of tree growth could have shown Barn-
stone older ones, for example the great oak standing in front
of the Grover-Chamber House at 1520 Market. Had he used the
word "most" instead of "all" he would have been on safe ground.
The reader must remember, however, that Barnstone has just
made his debut as an architectural historian, which should not
be confused with the word historian as it is generally interpreted
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 70, July 1966 - April, 1967, periodical, 1967; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101199/m1/173/: accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.