In the late 19th century, America became obsessed with pleasure piers — destinations brimming with amusement-park thrills, games of chance, tasty concessions and live entertainment. New York had Coney Island; California had the Santa Monica Pier. By the end of the 1940s, Galveston had the largest of them all: the appropriately named Pleasure Pier. Hurricanes had other plans, however, and after Carla crashed through in the ’60s, the property became the Flagship Hotel, which was devastated by Ike in 2008. Enter Landry’s. The renowned restaurant and hospitality group, headed by owner and CEO Tilman Fertitta, welcomed the opportunity to turn back time and redevelop the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier for a new generation. The $60 million project is filling the 1,130-foot pier, located on 25th Street and Seawall Boulevard, with 16 rides including the Texas Star Flyer, recognized as the highest ride in the state; midway games of chance and skill; souvenir and sweet shops; a live-entertainment stage; carny-food faves such as smoked turkey legs, hot dogs and cotton candy; and the first Texas location of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., a California-born concept (with obvious cinema ties) that promises 19 shrimp dishes on its diverse menu. The fun starts when the pier opens this month. Can’t wait? Visit pleasure-pier.com now and follow the link to its Facebook page for the latest details.
IMAGE: Galveston’s Electric Park, 1906, a predecessor of the Pleasure Pier. Galveston County Historical Museum.