First permanent settler arrives at Point Bolivar
On this day in 1838, Samuel D. Parr arrived at Point Bolivar and claimed a league of land there, thus becoming the first permanent settler in the area. Point Bolivar is at the western tip of Bolivar Peninsula, across from the eastern end of Galveston Island. The point has long held importance for coastal navigation and fortification. It served as a rendezvous place for Indians, pirates, freebooters, privateers, filibusters, and other transients, including Henry Perry, Francisco Xavier Mina, and James Long, among others. The place was briefly called Parrsville for Parr, who surveyed the area and was later granted a patent by the Republic of Texas. In the Civil War Confederate forces erected a fortification known as Fort Green to protect the bay. Settlers who arrived in the area as a result of activity at the fort eventually established the community of Port Bolivar. When the federal government began to develop the port of Galveston in 1898, it established the county's second Fort Travis at the point. In World War I and World War II the government built concrete gun emplacements at Fort Travis. The property was subsequently converted into a park operated by the county for recreation and camping. The fort's underground fortifications are tourist attractions and provide hurricane shelter for area residents.