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Galveston in Galveston County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Peter Leroy Colombo

(December 23, 1905 - July 12, 1974)

 
 
Peter Leroy Colombo Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, October 9, 2015
1. Peter Leroy Colombo Marker
Inscription.  Born in Galveston, Peter Leroy Colombo overcame disabilities to become a highly accomplished lifeguard. Born in 1905, Colombo lost his hearing, speech and use of his legs at the age of seven, due to meningitis. His brothers took him to the Texas coast where he swam, regaining use of his legs, though his hearing never returned. In 1915, Colombo began to attend the Texas School for the Deaf in Austin, where he learned to read lips and communicate in sign language, and where he also continued to train in swimming. He returned to Galveston in 1921 and soon joined the Surf Toboggan Club, a group of volunteer lifeguards.
     Colombo became a hired lifeguard at the age of 18. In a time of segregation, he would go on to save hundreds from drowning, regardless of race, over a career spanning approximately 50 years. In addition, Colombo set many endurance and speed records in swimming matches, often participating in races that were up to 30 miles long. He was also a pioneer surfer on Galveston’s beaches.
     Colombo officially retired in 1967, but continued to swim and serve as a lifeguard when he was able. When Peter Leroy Colombo died in
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1974, he was recognized with a moment of silence by the Texas state legislature. He had officially saved over 900 people from drowning, with many other rescues going unrecorded. In 2005, the natatorium at the Texas School for the Deaf was named in his honor. Today, Peter Leroy Colombo is remembered as an individual who did not allow disabilities to limit him, risking his life to rescue hundreds along the beaches of Galveston.
 
Erected 2008 by Texas Historical Commission. (Marker Number 15133.)
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Charity & Public WorkCommunicationsEducationWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical date for this entry is December 23, 1905.
 
Location. 29° 16.145′ N, 94° 49.344′ W. Marker is in Galveston, Texas, in Galveston County. Marker is at the intersection of Seawall Boulevard and 57th Street, on the right when traveling west on Seawall Boulevard. Marker is located at the southeast end of the Galveston Island Convention Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 5600 Seawall Blvd, Galveston TX 77551, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. "Ducky's Beach" (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Burial Site of David G. Burnet (1788-1870) (approx. ¼ mile away); The Rev. Henry P. Young (approx.
Peter Leroy Colombo Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, October 9, 2015
2. Peter Leroy Colombo Marker
0.3 miles away); William Tennant Austin (approx. 0.3 miles away); Rosewood Cemetery (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named Rosewood Cemetery (approx. half a mile away); Beach Invertebrates (approx. half a mile away); The Original Galveston Seawall (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Galveston.
 
Also see . . .
1. Leroy Colombo: The Deaf Lifeguard of Galveston Island Part I. From the East Texas Historical Journal. (Submitted on November 4, 2015.) 

2. Leroy Colombo: The Deaf Lifeguard of Galveston Island Part II. From the East Texas Historical Journal. (Submitted on November 4, 2015.) 
 
Galveston Island Convention Center image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, October 9, 2015
3. Galveston Island Convention Center
Marker is at southeast end of the convention center
Intersection of Seawall Boulevard and 57th Street image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, October 9, 2015
4. Intersection of Seawall Boulevard and 57th Street
View to East from Marker Location image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Duane Hall, October 9, 2015
5. View to East from Marker Location
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 21, 2019. It was originally submitted on November 4, 2015, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 1,036 times since then and 161 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on November 4, 2015, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.

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Jul. 21, 2024