A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from August 13, 2006
Oleander City (Galveston nickname)

Oleander trees lining the streets caused Galveston to be nicknamed “the Oleander City” in the 1870s.

Nickname: “The Oleander City”

Galveston is the county seat of Galveston County located along the Gulf Coast region in the U.S. state of Texas within the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area. As of the 2005 U.S. Census estimate, the city had a total population of 57,466. Galveston is accessible by a causeway linking Galveston Island to the mainland on the north end of the city, a toll bridge on the western end of the island, and by ferry boat service on the east end of the city. 

14 January 1874, Galveston (TX) Daily News, pg. 4:
It has been suggested that in lieu of the “Island City” Galveston should be called the “Oleander City.” And this suggests a choice between Hero and Leander. Perhaps “Heroic City” is entitled to the call. 

15 April 1876, Oshkosh (WI) Daily Northwestern, pg. 2:
AUSTIN, Texas, April 10.—Please excuse a few words from here. We have been down at Galveston for a week, had fine weather about 75 degrees to 80 degrees every day. At Oleander city we had strawberries, new potatoes, green peas every day. It is one of the cleanest cities, Broadway being 150 feet wide.

8 August 1878, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. 3:
ST. LOUIS, Aug. 6.—As you gather news from every source, I will drop you a few lines from this lately nearly exterminated city, which is set down upon the map as St. Louis, but to a stranger’s eye might far more properly be called Oleander City. Who St. Louis was, nine-tenths of the present inhabitants of this congregation of houses upon the “Old Massassip” might not be able to tell one; but what an “oleander” is could not be questioned, but that every other person could tell you “how to get a slip,” how to plant it, nourish it, water it, tend it, free it from vermin, the latest period to leave remain in the open air, the degree of temperature to be maintained in the cellar during the winter, and the earliest period to bring forth from its dark confines the Pride of St. Louis—the glorious oleander.

September 1885, St. Nicholas, pg. 874:
Houston is called the “Magnolia City,” and Galveston, about fifty miles south, is called the “Oleander City,” because its streets are lined with beautiful oleander trees.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Sunday, August 13, 2006 • Permalink