The Bolivar Peninsula has a long history of fortifications. Many were built on the site of the present Fort Travis Seashore Park. Fort Travis was the first fort established by the Republic of Texas (1836) to protect the Galveston harbor entrance. Using army recruits and slave labor, an octagonal earth and timber fortification was built.
Fort Travis was named in honor of William B. Travis, a famous defender of the Alamo. Fort Travis received a Texas Historical Marker in 1993.
Fort Travis property was bought by the federal government in 1898, 97 acres for $36,00 and several other parcels where added to the Fort property later. Construction began in 1898 and was completed in 1943. 4 batteries where built to defend the Galveston Harbor, Ernst and Davis was built in 1898 and the Kimble and No. 236 completed in 1943. Fort Travis consisted of 27 building to include barracks for enlisted men, officers and noncommissioned officers and a mess hall. After the 1900 storm a 17 foot wall was constructed on the south side to protect the fort from storm surge. The fort was used for both world wars. In 1949 Fort Travis was declared war surplus and sold to M and M Building Corp. After a change of ownership several times, Galveston County Court purchased the site in 1973 for a public park
Pictured above is a photo of Battery Kimble on the east side of Fort Travis. Battery Davis contained two eight-inch guns, which were the most advanced of their day.
Battery Ernst was built in 1898, and named after Second Lieutenant Rudolph Ernst, U.S. Sixth Infantry. It contained three small caliber pedestal guns.
Photo Credit – National Trust for Historic Preservation