Galveston County - Tiki Island
That's right, at a time when the eyes of the world were focused on the emerging war in Vietnam on the other side of the globe, this small patch of real estate was still just like nearly everything else nearby: nothing more than mud and grass barely peeking out above the water. The location, however, caught the attention of a pair of real estate developers who were busy building a community on the west side of Galveston Island. William Sherrill and Welcome Wilson, Sr. were business partners who had joined a small corporation to create Jamaica Beach, a city we will visit later on our tour, when they began to discuss the possibility of purchasing, filling in, and developing a new neighborhood closer to Houston.
Upon discovering that the land that interested them was privately owned, they decided to move forward with their project to improve it beyond its use as a simple fishing camp. After the purchase was completed the work of dredging out canals to build up the land to its current 4-10' elevation had begun, but the partnership was not able to continue. President Lyndon Johnson appointed William Sherrill to the Federal Reserve Board in 1967 and he had to sell out his interest to Wilson, but not before he suggested a name for the newly-created site. Wilson's initial idea of naming it Buccaneer Bay was thrown out in favor of Tiki Island.
The location of the peninsula initially attracted those interested in fishing and boating, and the canals that were dug allowed nearly every piece of property to be along the waterfront. Homes continued to be built and new residents began to move in, and by 1982 the city was incorporated as a village. Interestingly, although the bridge on Tiki Drive is the single point of access to the entire city, the neighborhood is zoned to different school districts. Students on the western half of town attend Hitchcock ISD schools, while those on the eastern half attend Texas City ISD schools. Despite their location along the Gulf Coast, residents of Tiki Island have weathered 21st century hurricanes such as Ike and Nicholas more successfully than many neighboring areas due to a strong commitment to building standards that exceed recommendations by agencies such as FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program.