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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Galveston in Galveston County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Mardi Gras in Galveston

 
 
Mardi Gras in Galveston Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 14, 2018
1. Mardi Gras in Galveston Marker
Inscription.
Mardi Gras was born out of a fifteenth-century European masquerade ball tradition, where guests would wear extravagant costumes and masks to conceal their identities. The first Mardi Gras celebration in Galveston occurred in 1867 at Turner Hall, when a group called “The Jolly Young Bachelors” invited 100 guests for “Dramatic Entertainment and a Bal Masque.”

The initial Mardi Gras celebration was deemed a success; however, the now annual event experienced periodic hiatuses throughout its history. Private celebrations and impromptu parades helped fill in the gaps between publicly promoted and organized events. Many traditions in the celebration have developed over the years, such as multiple parades and processions. Several festive galas developed over time to include an elaborate “Treasure Ball” and a royal party featuring the crowning of that year’s King Frivolous.

After a lengthy hiatus, in 1985 businessman and Galveston native George P. Mitchell and his wife, Cynthia Woods Mitchell, spearheaded efforts to revive Mardi Gras as a public event with local traditions. Their efforts included the fantasy arches project, which featured eight decorative arches commemorating the re-establishment of Mardi Gras in Galveston as an annual event.

Today, Mardi Gras provides
Mardi Gras in Galveston Marker (<i>tall view; looking west along Mechanic Street</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 14, 2018
2. Mardi Gras in Galveston Marker (tall view; looking west along Mechanic Street)
vital support for the local economy by attracting 300,000 visitors annually and sustaining downtown businesses. Daytime events have been added to foster a more family-friendly environment. The event has now expanded to a city-wide celebration lasting over two weeks. Spanning several generations, Mardi Gras in Galveston survived over 150 years of ever-changing culture and technology. This historic event continues to celebrate the Bal Masque linking Galveston to continental European culture.

Marker is property of the State of Texas

 
Erected 2017 by Texas Historical Commission.
 
Location. 29° 18.368′ N, 94° 47.696′ W. Marker is in Galveston, Texas, in Galveston County. Marker is on Mechanic Street east of 24th Street, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located on the sidewalk, near the street, in front of the Tremont House Hotel, just west of the main entrance. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2300 Mechanic Street, Galveston TX 77550, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Davidson Building (a few steps from this marker); Powell Arch (a few steps from this marker); Leon & H. Blum Co. Building
Mardi Gras in Galveston Marker (<i>wide view; showing Mardi Gras Arch in street at left</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 14, 2018
3. Mardi Gras in Galveston Marker (wide view; showing Mardi Gras Arch in street at left)
(a few steps from this marker); The Tremont Houses (within shouting distance of this marker); Rice, Baulard & Company Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Washington Hotel (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); 1871 Thomas Jefferson League Building (about 300 feet away); Hutchings, Sealy & Co. (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Galveston.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Saengerfest and the 1986 Galveston Mardi Gras Arches
 
Also see . . .  The History of Mardi Gras in Galveston.
The first year that Mardi Gras was celebrated on a grand scale in Galveston was 1871 with the emergence of two rival Mardi Gras societies, or "Krewes" called the Knights of Momus (known only by the initials "K.O.M.") and the Knights of Myth, both of which devised night parades, masked balls, exquisite costumes and elaborate invitations. By 1873, visitors from around the state were attending the festivities. Among them were Governor E.J. Davis and a party of state officials and legislators who rode in the Mardi Gras parade that year. (Submitted on May 14, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
The Tremont House Hotel (<i>marker visible left of main entrance, near street</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 14, 2018
4. The Tremont House Hotel (marker visible left of main entrance, near street)
 
 
Categories. Notable Events
 
Mardi Gras Party Invitation for the Tremont Opera House, 1876 image. Click for full size.
image courtesy of Dig Memphis, Memphis Public Library, February 29, 1876
5. Mardi Gras Party Invitation for the Tremont Opera House, 1876
Galveston Mardi Gras Card, 1876 image. Click for full size.
image courtesy of Dig Memphis, Memphis Public Library, February 1876
6. Galveston Mardi Gras Card, 1876
<i>Photograph of the Mardi Gras Arch in Galveston, Texas</i> image. Click for full size.
Photo courtesy of the Texas Historical Commission, April 1, 1986
7. Photograph of the Mardi Gras Arch in Galveston, Texas
One of the eight arches constructed for the re-establishment of Mardi Gras in Galveston in 1986.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 20, 2018. This page originally submitted on May 14, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 87 times since then. Last updated on June 19, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 14, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   5, 6, 7. submitted on May 15, 2018. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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