The name of High Island suits this coastal community because it sits atop a salt dome about 45 feet above sea level. During severe flooding from storms, this is the only dry land seen for miles. 

In 1834, Martin Dunman obtained a headright grant from Mexico and settled at High Island to raise cattle along with a few other families including Pirate Jean Lafitte’s cabin boy Charles Cronea.

The Gulf and Interstate Railroad built a railroad to Beaumont along Bolivar Peninsula in 1886. A depot, hotels, stores, and other business were established in High Island. For a time the community was known for its mineral springs which was bottled and sold. The Seaview Hotel served as a shelter for many residents of Bolivar Peninsula during the hurricanes in 1900 and 1915.

Many had speculated that oil could be found near the salt dome. Oil was discovered in 1916, and a major oil boom took place throughout the 1930s and 1940s.