Many Galveston landmarks to be rebuilt

June 28, 2009 8:54:55 AM PDT
Many of the historic landmarks that once stood on seaward pilings along Galveston's beaches but were wiped away last year by Hurricane Ike are coming back in a different form. But some are gone forever. So far, the only landmark being rebuilt after Ike came ashore near Galveston on Sept. 13 and caused destruction across the island is the 99-year-old Murdoch's Pier, the Houston Chronicle reported Saturday.

Murdoch's Pier, a gift shop that replaced the original bathhouse, has been rebuilt at least once before after a hurricane.

"We wanted to rebuild for Galveston, but we also wanted to rebuild to keep the legacy," said J.W. Little, who owns the gift shop with his wife, Suzanne.

The goal is to have Murdoch's open by spring break next year, he said.

The historic Balinese Room night club won't be rebuilt in its previous configuration, said owner Scott Arnold, a Houston attorney and real estate dealer.

The night club was once a popular illegal gambling hall where stars like Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and George Burns performed. It was built at the end of a 600-foot-long hallway to give dealers time to fold the gambling tables into the wall before police could arrive.

But the General Land Office, which leases property seaward of the beach, wants the Balinese, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997, rebuilt the same way. Arnold said if it's rebuilt in front of Galveston's Seawall along the beach, it will be wider and closer.

Construction of the 61st Street Pier, a tackle shop, will begin after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completes reconstruction of the 61st Street Jetty that will provide part of its foundation, said John Menna, president of Lollipop Inc., the pier's owner.

The Galveston Fishing Pier, which extended 1,100 feet into the Gulf, will be rebuilt with added reinforcement, said owner James McClure. Construction won't begin for several months.

But the Flagship Hotel, built in 1965 on a pier that goes out into the Gulf, was heavily damaged and will be torn down by owner Landry's Restaurants Inc.

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