Bathhouse? As a matter of history, Murdoch’s was originally a bathhouse that rented bathing suits and provided showers for Island visitors. Built on the sand of the beach in the 1800s before the seawall was constructed.
Without the protection of a Seawall, the 1900 storm destroyed the bathhouse. Although the structure was rebuilt in 1901, the storms of 1909, 1915, and 2008 were so violent, that reconstruction was required after each. When Murdoch’s reopened in 1910, it had 542 rooms, 251 for women and 291 for men. The cost at the time to rent the bathroom services were 25 cents.
In spite of such storms, Galveston gets an excellent share of sunny days all through the year, but modern visitors are not all interested in getting sand between their toes. Murdoch’s is a full blown tourist trap full of all kinds of souvenirs, but it also has an outstanding spot to relax, have an beverage, and listen to the wind and waves.
Murdoch’s is a long-standing seawall tradition on the Island, offering seashells and toys, t-shirts and shorts, hats and sunshades, and tons of other cute, kitschy, brightly colored memories of your visit. The building is built out over the surf on piers, just as the original building had been back before Hurricane Ike. There are two entrances leading into wide, airy showrooms, connected by a long stretch that houses more gifts, a bar, and an outdoor covered porch. You can sit in one of the many rockers and simply be, watching tourists on the seawall side, or the waves and gulls and tankers all the way to the horizon.
It’s a great place to sit back and relax for a little while in between walking stretches of the seawall, or without having to fight off kids, sand, and overzealous seagulls.
Watch out the for the pigeons, though. As with pigeons anywhere, they beg. They also flock in the area around the building and net beneath it side by side with their seagoing cousins.
2215 Seawall Blvd
Galveston, TX 77550
— Ann Cathey