The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997 Page: 360
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Although there has been some nostalgia for the "good old days" of the
Maceos, Galveston voters have steadfastly decided against renewed gam-
bling on the island. Experiments with three different casino ships,
1989-1994, that took gamblers from the Galveston docks beyond the
twelve-mile limit into international waters ended in bankruptcy and un-
paid taxes. Mayor Barbara Crews commented, "Any city council will look
long and hard at giving any incentives (for casino gambling ships) such
as we've done in the past. I don't want to say it'll be a cold day in July,
but perhaps we've learned that these are not things for Galveston.""6
The city's direction since the 195os has been toward family tourism, and
symbolically, the city council approved late in 1994 to spend $5.9 million
to restore the original tourist attraction, the beach along the seawall."7 The
city, county, and state, moreover, banned alcohol on the rebuilt beach and
most of the other beaches of the island. This was an extension of a policy
begun eighteen months earlier."s Galveston with some six million visitors
per year in 1994 thus completed its transformation into a tourist city.
Recreation and tourism is now a consideration of the larger cities
and towns in Texas as can be seen in the Texas State Travel Guide pub-
lished by the Division of Travel and Information in the Texas Depart-
ment of Transportation. The 1996 edition, organized by cities and
given without charge, offered 272 pages of tourist information about
the state. The first guide published in 1961 was thirty-two pages long.
This is a measure of the growth of the industry in the forty years since
tourism was first noticed by the Texas Business Review in 1952.
Tourism in Texas as seen in the history of Galveston has deep and in-
tertwined roots involving rising incomes, population growth, automo-
biles, railways, boosterism, roadways, leisure time, and visitor facilities.
Questions remain, particularly about the effect of travel on the
tourist--in Roy Bedichek's case, it changed his life. Many of the topics
concerning Galveston deserve further study-sailing, fishing, automobile
touring and racing, bicycle usage, recreational folklore, cultural politics,
and tourism investment, for example. Recreation history, of which
tourism is a part, therefore needs to become a field of inquiry for histori-
ans. After all, understanding how a society uses its free time may be more
indicative of interests, character, and personality than how it uses its work
time, over which most members of a society have very little control.
us Galveston Daily News, Jan. 15, 1995.
"'Ibid., July 1, 1993; USA Today, Dec.15, 1994; Lyda Ann Thomas, "Beach Nourishment Press
Conference," Dec. 6, 1994. A small-scale experiment in beach restoration took place in late
1988 when excess sand on Stewart Beach after Hurricane Gilbert was trucked by the city to the
area between the groins at 26th and 28th.
" Galveston Daily News, Jan. 13, 14, 1995; Houston Chronicle, May 28, 1995.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997, periodical, 1997; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101218/m1/426/: accessed December 11, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.