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 Popeye's fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from December 12, 2010
Playground of the Southwest (Galveston nickname)

Galveston has been called the “Playground of the Southwest” since at least 1911, A 1918 newspaper explained the nickname: “An excellent beach, fishing, hunting, motoring and boating have earned for Galveston the title of ‘The Playground of the Southwest.’” Galveston has been nicknamed “Port and Playground of the Southwest” since at least 1922.

New York City’s Coney Island has been called “America’s Playground” or “New York’s Playground” or the “People’s Playground” since 1904.

Wikipedia: Galveston, Texas
Galveston (pronounced /ˈɡælvɨstən/) is a coastal city located on Galveston Island in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2005 U.S. Census estimate, the city had a total population of 57,466 within an area of 208 square miles (540 km2). Located within the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area, the city is the seat and second-largest city of Galveston County in population.

Named after Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, Count of Gálvez, Galveston’s first European settlements on the island were constructed around 1816. The Port of Galveston was established in 1825 by the Congress of Mexico following its successful revolution from Spain. The city served as the main port for the Texas Navy during the Texas Revolution and later served as the capital of the Republic of Texas.

During the 19th century, Galveston became a major U.S. commercial center and one of the largest ports in the United States. Galveston is known for the hurricane that devastated the city in 1900. The natural disaster that followed still counts as the deadliest in American history.

Much of Galveston’s modern economy is centered in the tourism, health care, shipping and financial industries. The 84-acre (340,000 m2) University of Texas Medical Branch campus with an enrollment of more than 2,500 students is a major economic force of the city. Galveston is home to six historic districts containing one of the largest and historically significant collections of nineteenth-century buildings with over 60 structures listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

9 July 1911, Galveston (TX) Daily News, pg. 18, col. 5:
The biggest summer problem for Galveston railroads is the handling of the week-end crowds for Galveston—the summer playground of the Southwest.

16 July 1911, Gavleston (TX) Daily News, pg. 28, col. 4:
Galveston climate and the Galveston beach are the big resort assets of the city that make it the summer and winter playground of the Southwest.

12 March 1912, Galveston (TX) Daily News, pg. 12, col. 3:


The site of the Galveston slogan illuminated sign was determined at a meeting of the committee, held Monday. The great electric sign, said to be the biggest in the South, is to be mounted upon the top of the Gulfview hotel, at the corner of Tremont street and Avenue Q. The free use of the roof of the Gulfview has been donated by the proprietor, G. E. Jorgenson. Thomas E. Valentine, electric sign inspector, has already inspected the location and found it satisfactory. The electric sign is to be built facing the seawall boulevard. it will be approximately sixty feet long and forty feet high, containing in excess of 3,000 electric lights. The framework has already been ordered and is to arrive in Galveston within the next three weeks. Construction of the sign will commence immediately upon the arrival of the material.

Nautical Design.
The design of the slogan sign is to be approximately as described in The News at the time the slogan was selected. The full text is, “Galveston, the Treasure Island of America. Port and Playground. Growing. Greater. Grander.” The rectangular sign will be crowned at the two upper corners with two electric ship’s capatans. it will be outlined in a twisted ship’s cable of electric globes. From the ends of the rope at each side of the sign will be hung an anchor, outlined in electric lights. The text, “Galveston,” will be in the largest block letters in the sign. “The Treasure Island of America” will be spaced immediately beneath. At the bottom of the sign the phrases “Port and Playground” and “Growing, Greater, Grander,” will be flashed out intermittently.

28 May 1912, Dallas (TX) Morning News, pg. 8:
Ideal Weather Brings Out Unusually
Large Sunday Crowd.

Galveston, Tex., May 27.—Six thousand visitors thronged the city the first Sunday after the opening of Galveston’s mammoth causeway, enjoying perfect weather conditions for a day’s outing on the playground of the Southwest.

29 September 1912, Galveston (TX) Morning News, pg. 9, col. 1:


10 September 1917, Jewish Daily News (New York, NY), pg. 8, col. 3:
Dear Aunt Ray:—
At last I have found time to write to you. I have nothing special to say, but I thought you might like to read something of Galveston, so here it goes:
An excellent beach, fishing, hunting, motoring and boating have earned for Galveston the title of “The Playground of the Southwest.”

12 September 1918, Dallas (TX) Morning News, pg. 3 ad:
“The Playground of the Southwest”

1 October 1922, Galveston (TX) Daily News, annual trade edition, pg. 1, col. 7:
No compilation of facts about Galveston, the port and playground of the Southwest, is complete without a description of the natural features which tempt the pleasure seeker.

Google Books
Texas: A guide to the Lone Star State
By Harry Hansen; Writers’ Program of the Work Projects Administration in the State of Texas.
New York, NY: Hastings House
1969 (new, revised edition)
Pg. 264:
Accommodations: Galveston makes good its title of Port and Playground of the Southwest by providing numerous hotels and motels close to recreation areas along Seawall and Beach Boulevards.

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Sunday, December 12, 2010 • Permalink