KEMAH, TEXAS. Kemah is on State Highway 146 and Farm Road 518 in a half-moon pocket on Galveston Bay twenty-five miles northwest of Galveston in northeastern Galveston County. The community was established on the Texas and New Orleans Railroad about 1898 and called Evergreen; it was also known as Shell Siding in the period when the railroad hauled shell from the area. It was renamed Kemah, an Indian word meaning "facing the winds," for its position on the bay in 1907, when the post office opened, because the former name was already in use by another community. By 1914 Kemah had a population of 200, four hay producers, farm homes, summer homes belonging to residents of Galveston and Houston, and several fishing camps. During the Great Depression the population dropped to 100. In 1936 state highway maps showed a church, a school, several businesses, and multiple dwellings at the townsite. World War II brought growth to a population of 550 by 1943. This number held steady until 1965, during which time the town had a maximum of thirty businesses serving primarily the oil and ship-building industries. By then Kemah had incorporated and become part of the Clear Creek Consolidated Independent School District. Thereafter, it reached a high of 2,000 residents and forty-three businesses in 1970, then began to decline. In 1972 the population was 1,144, and in 1988 Kemah had 1,591 residents and sixty-six businesses. Once considered a shrimping town, Kemah continues to celebrate an annual August Blessing of the Fleet. In 1990 the population was 1,094. By 2000 the population had more than doubled reaching 2,330.
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Diana J. Kleiner, "Kemah, TX," accessed May 27, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hjk01.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Get Texas history every day,
with day by day
Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles