History Podcasts

Grand Gulf - History

Grand Gulf - History

Grand Gulf

A Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi below Vicksburg, VA.

(ScStr: t. 1200; 1. 210'4"; b. 34'6"; dph. 20'6",-s. 11.5
k.; a. 110~pdr., 230-pdrs., 38".)

Grand Gulf was purchased in New York as Onward 14 September 1863 from her builders, Cornelius and Richard Poillon; and commissioned 28 September 1863, Comdr. George Ransom in command.

Grand Gulf stood to sea from New York on 11 October and 9 days later joined the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron off Wilmington, N.C. Her two exits to the sea at Beaufort and the Cape Fear River made Wilmington one of the most important and most difficult to blockade of all Confederate ports. She remained on blockade duty there, with intervals for repair at the New York and Norfolk Navy Yards. until 4 October 1864.

On 21 November 1863, assisted by Army Transport Fulton, Grand Gulf took blockade runner Banshee with a general cargo of contraband from Nassau. Off the Carolina coast, Grand Gulf, 6 March 1864, captured the British steamer Mary Ann trying to run the blockade with a cargo of cotton and tobacco; seizing the cargo and 82 passengers and crew members, Grand Gulf put a prize crew on the steamer and sent her to Boston. A second British ship, Young Republic, fell captive to Grand Gulf after a wild chase 6 May 1864, with both ships steaming at full speed and the blockade runner throwing overboard bale after bale of precious cotton and even the anchor chain in a futile attempt to lighten ship. Grand Gulf garnered some 253 bales of cotton as well as 54 prisoners from this prize. Two weeks later, Rear Admiral S. P. Lee wrote Ransom congratulating him on taking the prize; "Every capture made by blockaders deprives the enemy of so much of the sinews of war, and is equal to the taking of two supply trains from the rebel Army."

Returning to New York 4 August 1864, she was ordered out in search of the Confederate raider Tallahassee, reported in Long Island Sound. However, 17 August she gave over the search to tow into port demasted brig Billow, and claim her as a prize. Billow had been captured by Tallahassee; scuttled but did not sink Grand Gulf left New York 23 September to convoy California steamer Ocean Queen to Aspinwall (now Colon), Panama, arriving there 3 October and returning to New York 16 October. From 24 October to 16 November she and Ocean Queen repeated the voyage. One day from New York on the outward passage, Grand Gulf, herself leaking badly, took into tow sinking British bark Linden. She then put into New York Navy Yard for extensive repairs.

With the ironclad Casco in tow, Grand Gulf put to sea 8 March 1865; arriving at Hampton Roads 12 March, she left Casco there and 17 March sailed to join the West Gulf Blockading Fleet off Galveston. She reached Galveston 4 April and remained on blockade duty until 25 June, when she steamed up the Mississippi to New Orleans. There she served as a prison ship and site for courts martial until 18 October, when she cleared New Orleans for New York.

Arriving in New York 2 November, Grand Gulf decommissioned 10 November and was sold 30 November to C. Comstock & Co. She was later resold to William F. Feld & Co. of Boston; renamed General Grant; and put in service in their Merchants of Boston SS. Co. operating between Boston and New Orleans. She burned and sank at a wharf in New Orleans 19 April 1869.

The Resort Experience, Grandly Inspired

Shaped by 170 years of proud heritage and elevated by a very contemporary statement of southern hospitality, there is an unforgettable quality that underpins our renown as &ldquoThe Queen of Southern Resorts.&rdquo Welcome to a gracious retreat on Alabama&rsquos Gulf Coast &ndash the iconic Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa awaits you.

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Golf at the Grand honors its place on
the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail

With two meticulously maintained championship courses to play, and an exciting refurbishment from tees to greens underway, The Grand is a glorious golf destination.
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The Grand Hotel continues a legacy
that began over 170 years ago

Since opening its doors in 1847, The Grand Hotel has taken pride in a heritage of military service and as a gracious host to American presidents, world leaders and generations of families.
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Tour Grand Gulf Military Park Click Here

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Contact us:

12006 Grand Gulf Road, Port Gibson MS 39150

This page was designed by Grand Gulf Military Park
Updated September 2008

Grand Gulf Military Park is located Northwest of Port Gibson between Vicksburg and Natchez. Day visitors stop on their way north or south. Campers enjoy staying in our campground so they can travel to other areas without moving their rigs. In the museum are brochures on the surrounding areas and our staff will be happy to provide you with additional information and directions. Our goal is to help make your trip to our beautiful state one you will be able to enjoy as many of the sites as possible during your stay. However, do not be discouraged if you are not able to fit everything into your schedule. Many have made several trips and each time seeing different sites. We look forward to your visit.

Grand Gulf - History

Grand Isle, Louisiana is a barrier island in the Gulf Coast in Jefferson Parish about 50 miles south of New Orleans. It is about 8 miles long and up to mile and a half wide. Prevailing currents and weather activity has caused it to expand and contract as it slowly drifts eastward toward Grande Terre. It has a resident population of about 1,500 which grows to 20,000 in the Summer months.

Grand Isle has been a popular summer getaway since the late 1800's and renowned for its fishing and crabbing and the Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo. Off its waters you can catch blue fin tuna, red snapper, flounder, yellow fin, Spanish mackerel and much more . The famous writer Lafcadio Hearn who lived in New Orleans from 1877 to 1887 called Grand Isle ". the prettiest island in the gulf." Nearby Grande Terre was a base for the famous pirate, Jean Lafitte. Grand Isle comes from the French for ' big island.'

A 1813 map of Grand Isle and Grand Terre

Grand Isle has a central ridge which is elevated several feet above sea level, which is called a chenier, derived from the French for "oak ridge." Unlike many other barrier islands in the gulf the chenier on Grand Isle allowed for the growth of extensive oak groves whose roots provided a livable land. Indians such as the Chitimachas and the Ouachas who have lived in the area for 2,000-6,000 years and probably visited the area to hunt and fish.

Photos and stories from Gran Isle's past

&ldquoJefferson Genesis: Grand Isle&rdquo was produced by the Jefferson Parish Public School System TV Studio. Featured is a discussion about the history of the Town of Grand Isle in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana

All oak trees bend northward, shaped by the winds from the Gulf

The French and Spanish explorers, but gave little attention to the area in the early 18th century. By the 1720s the French began to develop an interest in the Barataria region for colonization. The Barataria route from New Orleans was open when a canal was completed to the Mississippi River to Bayou Barataria. Some old maps indicate the presence of what might have been a Fort called Fort Blanc in the mid 1700's.

The Spanish built a watchtower and pilot station on the western tip of Grand Terre in 1780.

Coast Guard Station 1930s

The first documented settlements on Grand Isle start from the 1780s. Jacques Rigaud received a land grant from Spanish Governor Galvez in 1781 for 120 arpets one apert is about 190 feet . This was followed by more land grants.In 6 years the Spanish granted ownership to all the land on the island. Why would someone want land in what was then a remote location ? Drinking water was only available through cisterns and there was the constant threat of hurricanes and storms as there is today. One reason were the vast Baratarian oyster banks which could be transported to New Orleans easily as could fish and hides .

privateered goods were moved from Grande Terre to New Orleans through the maze of bayous on small boats called pirogues.

The destruction of Lafitte's on Grand Terre fort shortly before the Battle of New Orleans, from The Buccaneer (1958) starring Yul Brynner

1805 to 1814 were the pirate years for the area when Jean Lafitte and his privateers were based on nearby Grand Terre. They raided mostly Spanish ships for 'black ivory' ( slaves) and other booty to be resold in New Orleans. However, Grand Isle did not have a usable harbor like Grand Terre, making it ill suited for privateering. Lafitte and his band were forced off Grand Terre in 1814 by the U.S. government . Construction started on Fort Livingston in 1841 on Grand Terre . Many of Lafitte's men such as Louis Chighizola did retire on the island. There are many stories of pirate treasure on Grand Isle.

As the 19th century progressed plantations begin to appear and the island supported a number of sugar plantations and cotton. Some of these grew to be large concerns and there was more land available than there is today.One of the largest was the Barataria Plantation. By the 1830 census there were 107 people on the island. After the Civil War and the end of slavery many of the large plantations were broken up into smaller tracts for farming. Chinese immigrants came to dry fish and shrimp .

After the Civil War, the island also became a popular summertime resort and famous visitors such as Lafcadio Hearn and Kate Chopin wrote of its beauty. Until construction of a highway to Grand Isle in the 1930s travel to the island was usually made by steamer via the Harvey Canal and Bayou Barataria. The mighty hurricane of Oct 1,1893 leveled many of the popular hotels on the island. Before the 1893 storm Grand Isle experienced a resort boom, with some predicting it would become the Rivera of the South.In the 1880s it was possible to travel to Grand Isle from New Orleans in 8 hours by steamer for only $2. A railroad completed in 1890 to Myrtle Grove in Iberville Parish reduced travel time to 4 hours. One of the most famous of Grand Isle's 1890 resorts was the 160 room Ocean Club, built in 1892, only to be destroyed in 1893 by the storm. Like the Titanic, its owner claimed nothing could blow it away. the 1893 hurricane killed 2000 people on the Gulf Coast and wiped the island of Chenière Caminada ( to the west of Grand Isle), killing almost half of that islands 1500 inhabitants, few were killed on Grand Isle, however .

The Awakening was written by Kate Chopin in the gilded resort boom era of Grand Isle of the 1880's. Kate Chopin was one of the most individual and adventurous of nineteenth-century American writers, whose fiction explored new and often startling territory. When her most famous story, The Awakening, was first published in 1899, it stunned readers with its frank portrayal of the inner word of Edna Pontellier, and its daring criticisms of the limits of marriage and motherhood. The subtle beauty of her writing was contrasted with her unwomanly and sordid subject-matter: Edna's rejection of her domestic role, and her passionate quest for spiritual, sexual, and artistic freedom.

by Kate Chopin takes place in Grand Isle.

It was made into a movie in 1991 starring

Grand Isle - Movie Trailer

A bridge was completed to the mainland in 1931, which led some such as New Orleans businessman Alfred Danziger to believe they could develop Grand Isle into another Galveston. Hurricane Katrina brought a 5 ft surge and damaged the bridge to the mainland and many homes and camps. The bridge to Grand Isle is now has a $2.50 toll.

Houston History: A look back at Houston’s Grand Prize Beer, the best-selling beer in Texas

HOUSTON – Imagine what an Astros or Texans game would be like without a cold beer. Nearly 90 years ago during the Prohibition era, you couldn’t find a single ounce of beer in Houston.

But everything changed at the end of Prohibition, and Houston would introduce a new beer that would capture the attention of the state of Texas.

It was 1933 when Howard Hughes, aviator, movie producer and billionaire founded the Gulf Brewing Co. on the grounds of Hughes Tool Company.

He sought the best brewer at the time, hiring Belgium brewmaster Frank Brogniez from Houston Ice and Brewing to create a new beer, and so Grand Prize Beer was born.

The new brew was named after Brogniez’s original 1912 beer, Southern Select. It was a recipe that was awarded the Grand Prize at the last International Conference of Brewers, beating more than 4,000 competing brewers.

Grand Prize was successful and became the best-selling beer in Texas. Unfortunately, Brogniez passed away two years later, just shy of his 75th birthday. His son Frank operated the brewery after his death.

In 1963, Gulf Brewing Co. closed its doors and Grand Prize Beer stopped producing.

Today, you won’t find any cases of Grand Prize Beer, however you might find some memorabilia of the once-beloved cold drink.

Grand Gulf

Porter had a strong squadron with weak ground forces in support the Confederates had several forts backed by an infantry division.

Total casualties are unknown, but the Union lost about 80 men.

Rear Adm. David D. Porter led seven ironclads in an attack on the fortifications and batteries at Grand Gulf, with the intention of silencing the Confederate guns and then securing the area with troops of McClernand's XIII Army Corps who were on the accompanying transports and barges. The attack by the seven ironclads began at 8:00 am and continued until about 1:30 pm. During the fight, the ironclads moved within 100 yards of the Rebel guns and silenced the lower batteries of Fort Wade the Confederate upper batteries at Fort Cobun remained out of reach and continued to fire. The Union ironclads (one of which, the Tuscumbia, had been put out of action) and the transports drew off. After dark, however, the ironclads engaged the Rebel guns again while the steamboats and barges ran the gauntlet.

Grant marched his men overland across Coffee Point to below the Gulf. After the transports had passed Grand Gulf, they embarked the troops at Disharoon's plantation and disembarked them on the Mississippi shore at Bruinsburg, below Grand Gulf. The men immediately began marching overland towards Port Gibson.

The Confederates had won a hollow victory the loss at Grand Gulf caused just a slight change in Grant's offensive.

Missouri State Parks

Often referred to as Missouri's "Little Grand Canyon," Grand Gulf State Park offers visitors a chance to view a variety of natural wonders. From a canyon to a cave to a natural bridge -- this state park has plenty to see and much to do. The 322-acre park presents the most spectacular collapsed cave system in the Ozarks. Part of the cave's roof forms one of the largest natural bridges in the state, spanning 200 feet with an opening 75 feet high and 50 feet wide.

The "Grand Gulf" stretches for nearly a mile with walls almost 130 feet high, making the chasm deeper than it is wide. Trails, boardwalks and overlooks have been installed so that visitors can get a view from the edge of the cliffs and descend partway into the chasm without endangering themselves or the environment. Outdoor exhibits tell the story of the Grand Gulf and help onlookers understand how it was formed. Visitors can also enjoy several hiking trails from which to explore the canyon from above.

Picnic tables are scattered among the trees to enhance your enjoyment as you explore this designated National Natural Landmark.

Vicksburg: The Campaign That Confirmed Grant’s Greatness

The decisive Battle of Champion Hill on the Jackson Road east of Vicksburg May 16, 1863.

Obscure Union general learns that only hard, long fighting and logistics will win the war

When newly promoted Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant arrived in Cairo, Ill., in September 1861 to take command of the Military District of Southeastern Missouri, he didn’t even have a proper uniform. What he did have was a purpose. As he told acquaintances, the war with the Confederacy could not be won until the Mississippi River and its tributaries had been conquered. “The Rebels must be driven out,” he declared, “The rivers must be opened.”

Vicksburg: Grant’s Campaign That Broke the Confederacy
By Donald L. Miller
Simon & Schuster, 2019, $35

Less than two years later, Grant achieved that objective by capturing Vicksburg, the last major Confederate bastion contesting Union control of the river all the way from Cairo to the Gulf of Mexico. By May 1, 1863, Grant would have endured repeated political and military setbacks, and watched his soldiers and sailors sicken and die by the thousands in the malarial lower Mississippi Valley, but Union gunboats had finally run the batteries at Vicksburg and ferried the army to the east side of the river.

Professor emeritus Donald L. Miller (Photo by Austin Medina)

In Vicksburg: Grant’s Campaign That Broke the Confederacy (Simon and Schuster, 2019, $35), Donald L. Miller, John Henry McCracken Professor of History Emeritus at Lafayette College, recounts the year-long campaign and explains how Grant’s genius at logistics was a singular factor in his victory.

What was Grant’s primary strategic objective once he had his army on the east side of the Mississippi River at Bruinsburg, Miss.?

The whole point of this campaign was alacrity. The first thing Grant had to do was establish a beachhead so he could get supplies. After a one-day fight at Port Gibson, 12 miles east of Bruinsburg, Grant outflanked and forced the Confederates to abandon a strong point at Grand Gulf, which was an ideal port for supply boats coming down the river from the Union base at Milliken’s Bend, La. Still, Grant decided not to attack Vicksburg directly. Confederate Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton’s main Vicksburg force had dug in north of Grand Gulf on the north side of the Big Black River and Grant holds off confronting it, not without Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman, who was a couple of days behind. Meanwhile, Grant learned that Jackson, the state capital and Vicksburg’s primary rail connection, was being fortified and that Gen. Joseph Johnston, the Confederate commander in the Western Theater, was on his way. Grant, who respected Johnston and considered him superior to Robert E. Lee, found himself outnumbered and caught between two Confederate armies.

How did Grant get out of this bind?

His initial choice was to move northeast toward the Southern Railroad of Mississippi, which connected Jackson and Vicksburg. If he could cut the railroad, he could force Pemberton to come out of his fortifications and fight a battle somewhere east of Vicksburg. But when Grant found out that Johnston was in Jackson, he decided he had to move on the capital before a relief army could be organized. He didn’t want to have Johnston in his rear while he’s fighting Pemberton. The Union army, led by Sherman’s corps, which has finally arrived, surrounded Jackson. Johnston, a cautious commander, decided he didn’t have enough troops to defend the capital, so he skedaddled across the Pearl River and set up an encampment 30 or so miles north. Sherman moved into the capital with orders to destroy everything of military value. Once Jackson was neutralized and Johnston pushed out, Grant moved west to attack Vicksburg head on.

Explain why logistics were so important in the Vicksburg campaign.

I tried to dispel one of the great myths of the Civil War, which is that when Grant landed in Mississippi he cut himself off from his supply line and had his army live entirely off the land. That’s not true. In fact, Grant established one of the longest supply lines in the course of the Civil War back to Milliken’s Bend on the Louisiana side of the river. He didn’t maintain it for long, but during its existence supply ships poured into Grand Gulf and from there hundreds of wagons every day moved up the roads Grant’s army was using. But when Grant took Jackson and moved on Vicksburg, he realized his supply line was too long to be effectively defended. In the last part of the campaign, Grant’s men were down to three or four days’ rations and when they got close to Vicksburg they were in fact very hungry. It’s hard to forage when you’re moving quickly.

How did Grant address the supply situation?

In the campaign for Vicksburg, the golden grail was a place called Haynes’ Bluff, a one-time Rebel fort on the Yazoo River just above Vicksburg. The Rebels abandoned it when they withdrew inside the main line of fortifications, and Admiral David Dixon Porter, commander of the Union Navy gunboats on the Mississippi, took it over. If Grant could get to Haynes’ Bluff, he could be easily and enormously supplied and reinforced.

In order to get to Haynes’ Bluff, Grant had to fight Pemberton. Talk about the decisive Battle of Champion Hill.

Pemberton was getting contradictory orders. Johnston was saying that he should get out of Vicksburg, fight Grant on the way to Jackson and unite their forces. But Davis had demanded that Pemberton protect and hold the city of Vicksburg, which was near Davis’ plantation. Instead of moving east, Pemberton decided to move south to try to cut Grant’s supply line to Grand Gulf, which the Federals had already stopped using. Because of bumbling in the quartermaster department, Pemberton was delayed and was still on the Jackson Road when his army collided with the Federals at the Sidney Champion plantation May 16. Pemberton was not ready. As Grant put it later, the fate of Vicksburg was decided at Champion Hill. It was a one-day battle, unlike three days at Gettysburg, but casualties were very high on both sides. Pemberton’s army was pushed back into Vicksburg and cut off. The next day, as Grant’s army marched toward Vicksburg, Sherman sent a cavalry detachment to Haynes’ Bluff, where it found one of Porter’s gunboats on the river, and within hours Grant had a secure river connection to Milliken’s Bend, Memphis and Cairo. Soon Grant’s troopers were conducting slash-and-burn campaigns through the agricultural districts of northwestern Mississippi, where farmers had been growing corn instead of cotton to feed Pemberton’s army. The troops also encouraged slaves to leave their plantations, which was very important to weakening the Confederacy.

Grant decided to attack the defenses head on May 19 and was thrown back.

Union forces in the siege lines around Vicksburg. with sappers preparing tunnels and batteries bombarding the Confederate works. (ClassicStock/Alamy Stock Photo)

Grant’s miscalculation was his belief that his troops were eager to fight. That’s not true. Uncensored soldiers’ letters indicate clearly that nobody wanted to make that charge. The Union army had marched through Louisiana for a month, then marched 18 days—200 miles—through Mississippi and fights five battles, taking horrific casualties. The men were hungry and exhausted. When they get their first look at the Vicksburg defenses, which consisted of a string of earthen forts sitting high on a ring of bluffs, all connected by rifle pits, they were appalled. It was one continuous line of fire. If you stand at the Union position to the east of Vicksburg today and look a half-mile west at the line of Confederate forts, and look at the elevation, the hill you’re going to have to climb in the face of the Rebel guns, it looks like an impossible situation. Although I think it was a little crazy, you can defend the first charge. Grant’s army was beaten up and tired, but the Confederates were in worse shape. They’d lost five battles, including the decisive one at Champion Hill. Grant’s thinking was this: This is probably a demoralized army and I want to take care of them quickly, because Johnston is going to be building up and I don’t want to go into a siege situation with him in my rear. But the second charge on May 22 was suicidal. Pemberton has left two of his five divisions inside the city (they were fresh, they hadn’t fought). Men become braver behind fortifications. Spirits really picked up and Grant’s army took heavy casualties on the 22nd. Grant was an offensive general but recklessly so, and pitiless. After the second charge, the Federal commander realized his only choice was to besiege and shell the city.

Talk about life inside the besieged city and how morale was sustained.

Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, smoking cigar, meets Confederate General John Pemberton to accept Vicksburg’s surrender, July 4, 1863 (Niday Picture Library/Alamy Stock Photo)

Army morale at first was high, and Southern women played a big role in maintaining it. Civilians in Vicksburg thought Johnston was going to rescue them and they couldn’t believe that Davis would allow Vicksburg to fall. The Southern women hated Yankees even more than the soldiers did and they did a lot to keep the soldiers’ spirits up. After a while, the siege took its toll. Yankee sappers were digging tunnels that were getting nearer and nearer to the Confederate forts. The city was under constant bombardment civilians had to retreat to caves and they were running out of food. With Union gunboats controlling the river and the railroad cut, the city was starving. By the end of it, the civilians were ready to give in. Many letters from soldiers, however, express how irate they were when they found out Pemberton was going to surrender. They were ashamed and angry. They didn’t think they’d been outfought. They just thought they’d been starved out.

How significant was the fall of Vicksburg by comparison to Gettysburg?

Gettysburg was strategically important only in one aspect. If the Yankees had lost, it would have been catastrophic to Northern morale. But Lee didn’t have a supply line sufficient to move on and take Baltimore or Philadelphia or to move on Washington. Southerners looked upon Lee’s defeat as strategically unimportant. The Army of Northern Virginia retreated successfully to home territory in Virginia, was resupplied and rearmed, and was stronger than it had ever been. It gives Grant a hell of a fight for the next 15 months. But when you talk about the consequences of losing Vicksburg, you’re talking about loss of control of the country’s spinal cord. Union commanders finally had the ability to move their armies anywhere they wanted in western waters. Mississippi was out of the war. Southern Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, and the Trans-Mississippi region were for all intents out of the war. No important battles were fought west of the Mississippi after Vicksburg. Records clearly show that a lot of important supplies had come through Vicksburg from the Trans-Mississippi and now that was finished.

What was the most important outcome of the Vicksburg Campaign?

The emergence of Grant. He learns how to win at Vicksburg and he realizes that the war isn’t going to be decided by one or two-day engagements like Antietam and Shiloh. It’s going to be long, devastating, relentless campaigns that attrit Southern resources, destroy their food supply, and deprive them of their slaves. Even though he suffered one setback after another, he pressed on. The Confederates didn’t win a single long campaign in the whole Civil War. Grant did, so did Sherman. It was a new way of fighting and the best the South could hope for after Vicksburg was a negotiated peace.

Did the fall of Vicksburg decide the war?

I think the war was won in the West. I never used to believe that, but I believe now after researching this book.

This interview appeared in the March 2020 issue of America’s Civil War.

Gulf Brewing Company

The Gulf Brewing Company was started by Howard Hughes, Jr., in the summer of 1933 in Houston, Texas. Gulf Brewing Company was listed as one of many new breweries started in Houston just after the repeal of Prohibition in August of the same year. Built on the grounds of the Hughes Tool Company at 5301 Polk Avenue, the facility consisted of mostly steel-frame and tile walls and was designed and operated under the direction of the new brewmaster, Frantz Hector Brogniez. An article in the magazine Houston quoted that the 50,200-square-foot facility had the capacity of producing 600 barrels of beer a day, or 7,980 cases, and boasted the second largest cold storage capacity in the city. The company planned to use from 75 to 100 distributors and to purchase 200 trucks. At its peak in 1947, the brewery sold almost 483,000 barrels of beer.

The Gulf Brewing Company’s president and brewmaster was Belgian immigrant, Frantz Hector Brogniez. The vice president was his son, Frantz P. Brogniez Samuel Streetman, Jr., was the secretary-treasurer, and B. L. Dodwell was the general sales manager. Frantz H. Brogniez was not new to Houston or beer. Born in Belgium in 1860, he and his wife Alida immigrated to America in 1896. Brogniez was hired to establish the Tivoli Brewery in Detroit in 1897, and when Alida died in 1903, he married her sister Alice (at his late wife’s request) and eventually moved to Terre Haute, Indiana, to establish the People’s Brewery. Because of Alice’s health, Brogniez moved his family to Houston and worked at the Magnolia Brewing Company as brewmaster under the Houston Ice and Brewing Company from 1912 until Prohibition.

While at Magnolia, Brogniez brewed a family recipe that earned himself and Houston beer international acclaim at the Universal and International Exhibition (Exposition Universelle et Internationale) in Ghent, Belgium, in 1913. The Southern Select beer (the sample entry of which had been “plucked from a routine production run”) was awarded the Grand Prix out of 4,067 entries. When Brogniez returned to Houston after Prohibition ended, the Hughes Tool Company found the money and space to build his dream facility and brew his prize-winning beer. Because the Southern Select name was owned by Galveston-Houston breweries, the name of the beer was rebranded to Grand Prize Lager Beer in order to reference the achievement.

Brogniez died on October 9, 1935, barely two years after the brewery’s opening his son took over as brewmaster after his death. By the following year, Grand Prize became the best-selling beer in Texas. In 1948 the Gulf Brewing Company hired Charles Leiberman, who later became vice president and brewmaster until the brewery’s closing. He introduced a new product, the Pale Dry Grand Prize, in late 1949. The brewery maintained good public relations throughout its operations and invited the public as well as visiting celebrities and dignitaries for free tours. Production at the brewery lasted thirty years until it was leased to the Theodore Hamm Brewing Company of St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1963, and the last mention of the Gulf Brewing Company in the Houston City Directory was in 1962. Hamm and its assets were taken over by Connecticut-based Heublein, Inc., in 1965. In February 1968 a welder’s spark started a fire that destroyed most of the facility, and in June the remaining five-story Grand Prize Brewery brew house was demolished.


Despite the rest of the hotel's state, the Texas Bar was used as an emergency hospital in 1871, treating survivors of the Ocean Wave, a 200-passenger steamboat that exploded off the coast of Point Clear, killing an estimated 30 to 40 passengers. Soon after, Captain Henry C. Baldwin purchased the land and remaining buildings for $75,000 and rebuilt the hotel. It reopened in 1875. The new hotel, which Baldwin named the Grand, was much larger than the original, with 60 suites.

Watch the video: Grand Gulf State Park - Missouris Little Grand Canyon (January 2022).