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Step Inside Galveston’s Most Historic Homes — Preservation Keeps This Island Unique

Historic Home Tour Shows Off Galveston's True Beauties

BY // 04.29.19

For 45 years, Galveston Historical Foundation has helped to celebrate and preserve historic Galveston via its Historic Homes Tour. This year’s tour, which features eight beautiful homes dating from 1873 to 1923, is slated for May 4, 5, 11,and 12, from 10 am to 6 pm each of those days.

“Our annual Historic Homes Tour highlights some of the best preservation projects on the island,” says Dwayne Jones, Galveston Historical Foundation‘s executive director. “There are few places in the country that have our quality and supply of historic properties. It’s what makes the island unique and a treasure for all who visit.”

The August Roemer Tenant House at 1416 Sealy was built in 1873 by Roemer as a rental property. The charming center-hall cottage features double entry doors, transom-turned balusters, square porch columns and triple dormers.

Merchant Allen Cameron enlisted English-born architect Henry Collier Cooke to build the Allen and Lulu Cameron House at 1126 Church Street in 1891 for his new bride Lulu Aschoff. A prime example of a two-story Victorian home, it features asymmetrical façade with double wrap-around galleries separated by a patterned shingle skirt, a decorative balustrade and a widow’s walk.

Allen and Lulu Cameron House, built 1891, at 1126 Church Street
Allen and Lulu Cameron House, built 1891, at 1126 Church Street

The James and Amelia Byrnes House at 2113 Ball Street, built circa 1883, is this year’s Rehabilitation in Progress House. The home was once featured as an example of urban decay in 1969 during a city referendum on urban renewal. Thankfully, the current owners have been hard at work rehabbing the home since they purchased it in 2013.

A full docket of special events organized by GHF this year includes a partnership with Outdoor Painter’s Society’s Plein Air Southwest, the annual member competition, show and sale, which features 44 juried artists. The artists paint for six days and nights at select historic locations within Galveston, competing for $25,000 in cash and merchandise. The exhibition and public sale of the art created will be in the grand ballroom of 1859 Ashton Villa on Saturday May 11 from 9 am to 6 pm and Sunday, May 12 from 9 am to 3 pm.

A percentage of sales from the exhibition will benefit the GHF.

The Bishop’s Breakfast will be held May 4, 5, and 11 at 8 am at the 1892 Bishop’s Palace ($85, which includes a home tour ticket). History on Tap Dinners, which feature a special dinner prepared by an award-winning chef inside two tour homes (c. 1881 James and Amelia Byrnes House and the 1903 Peter and Anna Serini House) along with a private tour are held on May 3 and 10th at 7 pm ($150, includes home tour ticket). New this year is a cajun crawfish celebration at 1904 G, H & H Railroad Depot, which will feature a crawfish feast with music by noted Cajun musicians Chansons et Soûlards ($45, home tour ticket not included). The always-popular Mother’s Day Jazz Breakfast will be held on May 12 at 9 am at Galveston’s oldest residence, the 1838 Menard House Complex ($70, includes home tour ticket).

Architecture buffs will enjoy a Post-Modern Lecture on May 5 at 2 pm at the Texas Seaport Museum. Special guests William Whitaker, curator of The Architectural Archives at University of Pennsylvania; Dr. Kathryn O’Rourke, Historian of Modern Architecture at Trinity University; author Ellen Beasley; and past GHF Executive Director Peter Brink will hold an in-depth discussion on post-modernist architecture in Galveston ($40, home tour ticket not included).

General admission for the Galveston Historic Homes Tour are $25 for GHF members, $30 in advance for nonmembers, $35 after May 3. Your ticket grants admission to all homes for all four days, 10 am to 6 pm. Purchase online, call 409.765.7834 or visit The Shop At The Palace (1402 Broadway, Galveston), Eighteen Seventy One (2217 Strand, Galveston), or Architectural Salvage Warehouse (2228 Broadway).

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