We asked on Facebook: What’s your favorite legend, historic place or person in Galveston County?
The Balinese Room. I attended a dinner/play there in the late 1970s. Amazing place.
Patti Gorom Landers
I love the Balinese Room. When my grandmother passed away, I was given her keys. On her keychain was her lucky poker chip from the Balinese Room.
One of my fondest memories of the Balinese Room was when I was working there as a busboy when my favorite TV star, Patty Duke, was headlining. I was working there to supplement my income while in the Coast Guard stationed at USCG Base Galveston.
I grew up there. My dad was a member of the Beach Gang during Prohibition. He was the only Maceo syndicate member who wasn’t Italian.
My mom claims her mother “dragged” her father out there (Balinese Room) every night back in the day, even though her dad was a trial attorney and had to rise early each morning. They loved their social cocktails, cigarettes and live music.
I remember our family had a New Year’s Eve disco party there in ’79 (possibly ‘80). I was only 14 or 15, but our family always rang in the new year together, and sometimes at one of our own disco dances (live bands). My mom adored having us all with her dancing to ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family,” … kissing my stepdad at midnight to “Auld Lang Syne” and standing on her chair, toasting with a Champagne glass (her annual sip of alcohol). I loved it all and getting to disco dance with my older siblings in my turquoise suede leather pants that my stepdad bought me in Italy as a souvenir from our vacation that summer.
Dotsy Matthews Balentine
Bartender Santos Cruz inventing the margarita for Peggy Lee in 1948.
When the Texas Rangers would raid the Balinese Room and the tables would flip over; also, Santos’ famous margaritas from the Old Galveston Club. He started out as a busboy at the Balinese Room.
Eliza Thomas Quigley
The rebuild after 1900 — raising and filling the island behind the new wall, jacking up houses and churches, undergoing years of pumped sand and uncomfortable stench, and the knitting together of groups that had been separated before, in the name of a city and a way of life they would not let be lost. And the fact that all that paid off in 1915.
Jack Johnson and Jean Laffite.
Herman “Doc” Weinert. He once posed on the seawall wearing a pair of adult diapers to protest the lack of public restrooms. The Houston Post published the photo.
I and other journalists performed at the Balinese in a Galveston County Press Club event in the early ‘80s. I portrayed “Doc” Weinert, a Galvestonian who attended and spoke at almost every Galveston City Council meeting and was known to imbibe a bit. The skit was about the restrooms — or lack thereof — on the seawall. I appeared in a diaper with a liquor bottle in my hand. It was a fun night! (Full disclosure: I was known to imbibe a bit myself).
Phillip C. Tucker, Worshipful Master of Harmony Lodge No. 6, who stopped the war so brothers from the North and the South could come together to bury their dead. He was a true legend and a perfect example of what it means to be a Mason.
A memory to share: My husband applied for a managerial position in a Galveston business. After his interview, they asked him to bring his wife in. This was in 1963. So, I went in for my interview. The personnel manager was a middle-aged woman. Delightful, I should say. She shared a lot of information about the business and herself. Now, I am a native Texan, but had not been in Galveston many times. As this person, who shall remain anonymous, was talking, she said with an obvious amount of pride. “I am a BOI.” I did not know what that meant, but I did know I’d better be impressed. So, I exclaimed with something like “that is so impressive!” It was the correct response. When we left, I asked someone from Galveston what BOI meant. My husband got the position.
Joy Miller Talbert