Gilchrist Texas is an unincorporated residential community and beachfront resort along State Highway 87, located seventeen miles east of Port Bolivar on the Bolivar Peninsula. Located in Galveston County, this community was named for Gibb Gilchrist who relocated and rebuilt the rail line from High Island to Port Bolivar. Gilchrist is the home to the historical Rollover Pass.
In 1950, a post office was opened at Gilchrist. The Gilchrist Post Office is at 2259 Highway 87 Gilchrist, TX 77617. Gilchrist residents are zoned to schools in the High Island Independent School District.
A notable feature of the community is the Rollover Pass, which divides Bolivar Peninsula as well as Gilchrist and carries water between East Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. It is regarded among sportsmen as an extremely popular fishing location in Texas with some the largest fish in the state.
Rollover Pass was a natural pass that had been closed until 1955, when it was opened by the Texas Game and Fish Commission as part of its efforts to preserve and improve fish and wildlife resources. Several businesses in the community operate to furnish necessities for permanent residents as well as tourists.
Rollover Pass, also known as Rollover Fish Pass, is a strait 200 feet wide, five feet deep, and more than 1,600 feet long across Bolivar Peninsula; it links Rollover Bay and East Bay with the Gulf of Mexico in extreme southeastern Galveston County (at 29°00′ N, 94°30′ W).
The pass, now filled back in, was opened in 1955 by the Texas Game and Fish Commission to perpetuate state fish and wildlife resources and improve local fishing conditions; it introduces enough seawater into East Bay to increase bay water salinity, promote growth of submerged vegetation, and help marine fish to and from spawning and feeding areas in the bay.
The pass is named for the practice of ship captains from the days of Spanish rule through prohibition, who, to avoid the Galveston customs station, rolled barrels of import or export merchandise over that part of the peninsula.