Eight things to know about Texas City, Texas

We spend so much time traveling to new destinations I’ve entirely overlooked the community of Texas City, Texas. Texas City is full of fascinating history and is a popular family tourist destination. Here are eight things to know about Texas City, Texas.

This great little gem is a mere five and a half miles from my home, straight down Highway 146, located on the southwest shore of Galveston Bay. Galveston and Texas City are within eyesight of each other.

Texas City has a population of about 52,000, is the third-largest city in Galveston County and is another excellent place to stop on your way to Galveston.

1. Texas City Disaster

Eight things to know about Texas City, Texas

Texas City was where a horrific industrial explosion happened in 1947. This accident is responsible for the deaths of up to 600 people, and as many as 4,000 were injured. It was not possible to obtain exact numbers of casualties. The fire and explosion happened in the SS Grandcamp at the Texas City Dock.

Deckhands loaded the Grandcamp with ammonium nitrate fertilizer, a flammable substance. It began to burn and eventually caused an explosion. SS High Flyer, a nearby ship carrying sulfur, caught fire and exploded. The explosions also caused a 15-foot tidal wave in the area.

Fighting the fires was complicated because the first explosion killed many firefighters and destroyed much of the firefighting equipment. The explosions leveled many buildings, destroyed the dock and the nearby Monsanto Chemical plant.

In 1962 the courts ruled that Grandcamp’s owner, the Republic of France, was not liable for claims resulting from the explosion. Property loss totaled $67 million. Due to this horrific disaster, changes and new regulations are now in place for chemical manufacturing and shipping chemicals.

I read this excellent book some years ago, City on Fire: The Explosion that Devastated a Texas Town and Ignited a Historic Legal Battle, by Bill Minutaglio. It tells the entire story.

2. Texas City Museum

Eight things to know about Texas City, Texas

Since we enjoy visiting small-town museums, it is difficult for me to understand why we have never visited the nearby Texas City Museum. Finally, we have marked this Museum off our “need to see” list. We were both very pleasantly surprised at the professional quality of the Museum and its exhibits.

First of all, this is a surprisingly large museum housed in the former JC Penney building. Another surprising fact is that the Galveston County Model Railroad Club Exhibit covers the entire second floor of the Museum. This portion of the Museum is open on Saturdays only.

The first floor has exhibitions in several rooms. It displays the history of Texas City chronologically throughout each room from the founding of the city up to the present day. A short informative video introduces visitors to the early history of this remarkable town.

Eight things to know about Texas City, Texas

One of the surprises we discovered in this Museum was the large, brightly lit Children’s Discovery Room. We also viewed films, exhibits, and artifacts from the 1947 Disaster. Informational displays portraying modern-day Texas City are also on display.

Eight things to know about Texas City, Texas

The Dahlgren Cannon shown above was retrieved from the USS Westfield was recovered in 47 feet of water near the Texas City Ship Channel and Houston Ship Channel.

3. Heritage Square Park

Eight things to know about Texas City, Texas

The City of Texas maintains this pretty little Park of historical homes located at 109 3rd Ave North. Heritage Square Park includes the Davidson Home, Engineer’s Cottage, Lee Dick Home, and Moore Home. The Davison Home is open to the public only between 2-4 pm on the first Sunday of each month.

We did not visit during this brief open time, but we will make a return visit soon to tour the inside of this lovely home. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was completed in 1897 by Frank Davison, the resident manager of the Texas City Improvement Company.

4. Bay Street Park

Eight things to know about Texas City, Texas

Bay Street Park is a terrific community park on Bay Street near the Texas City Dike. The Park is full of grassy lawns, walking trails, has a children’s playground, pavilion, and memory benches placed throughout the Park.

There is even a disc golf field for frisbee enthusiasts. Since the playing field is right next to the water, I expect those frisbees often end up lost in the water. It looks like a fun game to play, though.

5. Birth of Air Force

Eight things to know about Texas City, Texas

Did you know a monument in Bay Street Park claims Texas City is the Birthplace of the United States Air Force? This claim to fame was a surprise to me! However, in 1913 the U.S. Army’s first Aero Squadron was deployed to Texas City because of the turbulent Mexican revolution.

I thought this was a pretty interesting historical nugget to discover.

6. Texas City Dike

Eight things to know about Texas City, Texas

This wonderful artificial Dike built over Galveston Bay is over five miles long and is the longest man-made fishing pier in the world. A boat launch, fish cleaning stations, and other amenities make this a popular sportfishing destination.

The Texas City Dike is open 24 hours, but on weekends between March to October, a $10 fee is charged per vehicle. Additional fees are charged for some holidays and parking an RV on the Dike. There is no charge to walk onto the Dike.

7. Boyd’s One Stop

Eight things to know about Texas City, Texas

Boyd’s has been our go-to place for crawfish for many years. This top-rated business sells bait to fishermen but is also one of the largest seafood shops in the area. It is at the entrance to the Texas City Dike, very convenient to fishermen heading out on the Dike to fish or out in their boats.

We purchase fresh seafood from Boyd’s almost exclusively. Whether shrimp, crabs, or crawfish, the seafood is always fresh and of good quality. I even receive text notices from Boyd’s giving me the current crawfish price-per-bag during crawfish season.

Boyd’s Cajun Grill Express, a seafood takeaway only restaurant open January through July, has been added to their ever-growing business. Here you can order very reasonably priced cooked crawfish, po’boys, fried fish, shrimp or oyster platters, burgers, and much more. Great fresh seafood!

8. Grand Prize Barbeque

Eight things to know about Texas City, Texas

Grand Prize is our favorite barbeque spot in Texas City. This restaurant has been serving deliciously prepared barbeque for years. Try the jalapeno cheese bread with your barbeque or one of their gigantic stuffed potatoes! Grand Prize is easy to find on Palmer Highway.

Texas City is an industrial area with several chemical plants calling it home. The privately-owned deepwater Port of Texas City is also here in Texas City. You will find a rich Texas history and a sport fisherman’s or birder’s paradise here.

There is so much more to Texas City than I’ve mentioned here. Perhaps take a slight detour to Texas City next time you’re driving to Galveston, or make Texas City your weekend destination for fishing and recreation. I am unaware of RV parks right in Texas City, but several are in nearby Galveston or LaMarque.

FYI, for your RVers who may have been boondocking in the Galveston area, the Texas City Wastewater Treatment Plant has a free dump station, open 24/7. We often use this convenient amenity when we return home at the end of a trip.

After being home a few weeks now, we are ready for a new adventure. We are taking off for a week or two-long excursion in a day or so. Check back to see where our next adventure will take us.

Eight things to know about Texas City, TexasEight things to know about Texas City, Texas

6 thoughts on “Eight things to know about Texas City, Texas

  1. This Texas City guide is incredibly helpful. You’ve really thought through everything you need to know before planning a trip. Thank you for this helpful resource. Saving this guide for later!

  2. Wow. I had no idea Texas City had such an interesting history. Your posts are always so educational and fun to read.

    1. Thank you Dorothy, very happy you enjoyed it. Texas City truly does have a lot to offer.

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