Kemah is a Texas city found inside the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown metro area. Originally founded under the name “Evergreen” back in 1898, the area was subdivided by landowners John Henry Kipp and James H. Bradford in order to establish a township. Following the subdivision, residents were polled and selected Kemah as the new name. Kemah is the Karankawa word for “wind in face,” or “facing the wind.” Following an unsuccessful petition for its own post office by Kipp, the city of Kemah was finally granted one in 1907.
In addition to being a big commercial fishing and agricultural area, Kemah also became a significant destination for tourists from the 1920s through the 1950s. This was due to an investment by the infamous Maceo crime syndicate, which ran Galveston at the time. The syndicate built an opulent casino district along the boardwalk, featuring such popular venues as the Chili Bowl and the Kemah Den. The Galveston vice empire was finally shut down by the Attorney General in the 1950s and as a result, tourism sharply declined. Tourism started to pick up again the 1970s, thanks to the establishment of the Johnson Space Center on Clear Lake and again in the 1990s with the revitalization of the Kemah Boardwalk.
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