"The rush at the Menard or Central Wharf, now known as Pier 21, during the late 1860's and the early 1870's, with the big fleet of 'red' Morgan ships discharging cargo and passengers, with the river boats loading and unloading, was so great that a police officer was kept on duty there all the time.
"At times during a rush there would be a line of drays extending from the steamboat landing at Central Wharf as far up town as the corner of Strand and 22nd streets, and it required the services of several policemen to keep them straightened out.
"During the year 1871 no less than 41,670 passengers by sea landed in Galveston, the majority of them coming in the Morgan line steamships, although there were some from New York by the Mallory steamers and a few hundred from Bremen by sailing vessels." (Galveston Daily News, Oct. 25, 1908)
As of 1874 "The number of entrances of foreign and coastwise vessels in Galveston harbor yearly varies from 700 to 1,400... The imports are salt, coffee, crockery, iron and tin, and a steady current of sturdy Germans.... The importation of lumber from Florida, Louisiana, and Northern ports, employs a large number of vessels.... Steamships loaded with cotton run regularly between Galveston and Liverpool; and, returning, bring out English, Irish and Scotch emigrants... The steamship
line between New York and Galveston carries about 95% of all the merchandise sent into Texas from New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Baltimore. The foreign trade of the port is increasing with wonderful rapidity...." (Edward King, Texas 1874)
The Strand, in the late 1800's, was dubbed "The Wall Street of the Southwest." It was a street of opulent Victorian buildings: with 5 banks, wholesale houses, grocers, liquor and cigar dealers, cotton factors, commission merchants, insurance companies, printers and 8 newspapers, dry goods companies, steam and sail ship agencies, auction houses, and a fair sprinkling of saloons and sailor boarding houses.
With all its wealth, bustle and business, Galveston was one of the richest cities in the world per capita. Before the end of the century, The Strand was not only the financial heart throb of Galveston and Texas — but of much of the Southwest as well.