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Go Inside 10 Historic, Private Galveston Houses — This Special Tour Takes You Places

Stepping Into the Past — Get a Closer Look

BY // 04.26.21
photography Koby Brown Photography

From grand mansions to the cutest of cottages, the Galveston Historical Foundation introduces the broad range of architectural styles on the island in the 47th annual Galveston  Historic Homes Tour, which is set to take place May 1 and 2 and May 8 and 9 from 10 am to 6 pm.

“The lineup of houses is really exciting, showcasing a range of Galveston’s best residential architecture,” the foundation‘s executive director Dwayne Jones says in a statement. “Small to large, the houses tell great stories of island life and exhibit various ways to restore and rehabilitate our great architectural assets.

“As we recognize our 150th anniversary and through the support of homeowners opening up some great houses, we’re looking forward to this year’s tour and a number of unprecedented special events.”

The beauty of this historic tour is that it opens the doors to otherwise private, unavailable to the public, homes.

The oldest dwelling on the tour, the Bondies-Robertson House, was built in 1877 with additions and alterations from 1886 to 1904. One of the newer properties to be showcased on the tour is the charming William and Edna Crawford House, one of three spec four-room cottages built in 1913 as affordable housing.

Galveston Historic Homes Tour (Photo by Koby Brown Photography)
Now considered a beach bungalow, this 1913 four-room cottage was one of three built as affordable housing by the Galveston Suburban Improvement Company. (Photo by Koby Brown Photography)

Perhaps the most compelling house on the tour is the 1893  League-Kempner House, designed by architect Nicholas J. Clayton with additions and alterations by Birdsall Briscoe made in 1920. Recently purchased from an estate, the 7,800 square foot home in the hands of new owners is undergoing extensive work to address decades of deferred maintenance and neglect. It is expected to be a show-stopper once the renovations are complete.

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Further details on the tour and related events and $40 ticket reservations are available here.

Not on the tour is the iconic Bishop’s Palace at 1402 Broadway which  is in the hands of the foundation and can be visited separately while the ornate, eye-catching Ashton Villa serves as home to the Galveston Island Visitor’s Center. It is not open for touring but can be booked for special events.

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