TexasEscapes.com HOME Welcome to Texas Escapes
A magazine written by Texas
Custom Search
NEW
TEXAS TOWNS
GHOST TOWNS
COUNTIES
TOPICS
TRIPS
ARCHITECTURE
COLUMNS
ARCHIVE
SITE MAP
SEARCH SITE
HOTELS






KEMAH, TEXAS

Galveston County, Texas Gulf Coast

State Highway 146 and FM 518
On Galveston Bay
1 mile S of Seabrook
25 miles NW of Galveston
32 miles SE of Houston
Population: 1,799 (2010) 2,330 (2000) 1,094 (1990)

Book Hotel Here > Kemah Hotels

Kemah  Texas - Waterford Harbor
Waterford Harbor in Kemah
Photo courtesy Keith Hatton, 8-04

Kemah

by Keith Hatton
If you’re a Texan who is serious about boating, you already know about Kemah. Home to the third largest fleet of recreational boats in America, Kemah is unique. This is where boots, jeans, and longneck beer meets flip flops, cut-offs, and well… longneck beer. Like the offspring from a Maui and Ft. Worth marriage, Hawaiian shirts and pickup trucks dot the parking lots of the bars, restaurants and marinas throughout town. But the rich Kemah history makes it much more than just another Texas coastal town.

Kemah is located on the south side of Clear Creek Channel. The Channel connects the briny Clear Lake with Galveston Bay. About twenty-five miles northwest of Galveston, and thirty-two miles southeast of Houston, Kemah is easily assessable by State Highway 146 and Farm Road 518.

Kemah History

Legend has it that one of Kemah’s first inhabitants was the pirate Jean Lafitte. It is even rumored that he buried much of his stolen treasure around this horseshoe shaped section of Galveston Bay. There are still some long time residents who profess that some of Lafitte’s treasure was used to fund much of Kemah’s illegal and notorious gambling days shortly after World War II.

The town began as a result of the Southern Pacific railroad passing through this small section of Gulf property. Then, around 1898, the largest landowners in the area, the Bradford Family (headed up by James H. Bradford) and Kipp Family (with John Henry Kipp as the head of the household), created the township of Evergreen. It was also called Shell Siding at times because of the huge amounts of seashell hauled by the railroad from the Bradford family property.

Evergreen grew to point where J.H. Kipp wanted citizens to have their own post office. However, he was told there was already a town with that name. If they wanted a post office, they would have to come up with a new name. Eventually, Kemah was chosen. It means “wind in the face” in Indian, which, if you’ve ever been to Kemah, you can appreciate how easy it was to come up with that name. The population of Kemah remained around 100-200 citizens for the first third of the 20th century. It began to grow in the late 1930s and early 1940s to over 500 and held steady until 1965. Since then, the boating industry has taken off as well as Kemah. With easy access to the Gulf of Mexico, the construction of dozens of new marinas, and numerous Houstonians anxious to spend their weekends on the waterfront, Kemah has sextupled in size to a population of about 2700.
Texas - Kemah Channel
Kemah Channel
Photo courtesy Keith Hatton, 8-04
Kemah Today
Kemah, once a slow coastal town is now more upscale chic. Waterford Harbour, the gem of marinas along the Texas coast, is a focal point in the development of this town. There is also the Kemah Boardwalk.

A 14-acre complex, the Boardwalk is complete with themed restaurants, hotels, amusement rides, marinas, and even a miniature train ride.

But, Kemah’s more lasting attributes are less tangible. The warmth and friendliness of the residents completes the picture. And this may be the real reason why Kemah is a true Texas paradise.
© Keith Hatton

Kemah Hotels > Book Here
Kemah TX - Broadwalk
Kemah Broadwalk
Photo courtesy Keith Hatton, 8-04
Kemah Tourist Information
  • Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce
    1201 E. NASA Road 1 Houston Texas 77058-3391
    281-488-7676
    http://www.clearlakearea.com
  • The City of Kemah
    1401 State Hwy. 146 - Kemah, TX 77565
    281-3341611
  • Kemah, Texas
    Area Destinations:

    See Galveston County
    Seabrook
    Galveston
    Houston
    Book Hotel Here:
    Kemah Hotels
    More Hotels
    More Texas Towns & Hotels:
    See Texas Gulf Coast
    Texas Towns
    Texas Ghost Towns
    Texas Counties
    Texas
    Texas Escapes, in its purpose to preserve historic, endangered and vanishing Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history and vintage/historic photos, please contact us.


     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    All Texas Towns :
    Gulf Gulf Coast East East Texas North Central North Central Woutn Central South Panhandle Panhandle
    South South Texas Hill Hill Country West West Texas Ghost Ghost Towns State Parks State Parks

    TEXAS ESCAPES CONTENTS
    HOME | TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE | SEARCH SITE
    TEXAS TOWNS A-Z | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS A-Z | TEXAS COUNTIES

    Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South | West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
    TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | FORTS | MAPS

    Texas Attractions
    TEXAS TOPICS
    People | Ghosts | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII | History | Texas Centennial | Black History | Art | Music | Animals | Books | Food
    COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

    TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
    Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters | Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators | Lodges | Museums | Rooms with a Past | Gargoyles | Cornerstones | Pitted Dates | Stores | Banks | Drive-by Architecture | Signs | Ghost Signs | Old Neon | Murals | Then & Now
    Vintage Photos

    USA | MEXICO | HOTELS

    Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
    Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes LLC. All Rights Reserved