Galveston renames causeway for Cynthia and George Mitchell

Sheridan Mitchell Lorenz remembers driving across the causeway with her parents as a child. The family, which included 10 kids, would have to take two cars to get everybody to the island. Everyone would get giddy when they reached the bridge.

Her mother, Cynthia, once was pulled over for going too fast over the bridge and given a ticket, she said.

Her father, George, was pulled over minutes later, for the same offense. A police officer asked why he was speeding.

“He said ‘I was just chasing my wife to tell her to slow down,’” Lorenz said. “We got away with it.”

The bridge to Galveston was a reminder of great memories for the Mitchell family, she said.

Now it officially bears her parents’ names.

The Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce officially unveiled the new signs bearing the new official name of the Galveston Causeway: The George and Cynthia Mitchell Memorial Causeway.

The Mitchells are among of Galveston’s most influential supporters and philanthropists. They are noted for revitalizing the city’s downtown and bringing back the city’s Mardi Gras celebration.

George Mitchell was born on Galveston Island, and became a billionaire in the oil and gas industry, in part because of his innovations in the technology of hydraulic fracturing. He married Cynthia in 1943, and together they had 10 children

The new name was approved by the Texas Legislature in 2014, but it was up to local organizations to raise the money to print and install the signs.

The Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce took the lead in raising money for the signs. Chamber President Gina Spagnola said $17,000 was raised for the signs within 36 hours of a call for donations.

State Rep. Wayne Faircloth and state Sen. Larry Taylor co-wrote the legislation that gave the causeway its new name.

“It should have been done a long time ago,” Taylor said. “This guy was a true American hero, and I can’t think of a better way to honor him and his wife.”

The new signs were unveiled Tuesday along the sides of Interstate 45.

George Mitchell died in 2013. Cynthia Mitchell died in 2009.

The bridge was completed in 2008.

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