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Homes Tour to Celebrate 40th Anniversary

This year’s annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour promises to be one of the best yet as the tour celebrates its 40th anniversary. With tours held the first two weekends in May, this anniversary celebration will feature nine homes including six never showcased before, a grand preview and antique appraisal event, and a special commemorative print highlighting one of the island’s best known residences, the 1892 Bishop’s Palace.

Full details here

Annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour Debuts Three Homes for Public Viewing

Photo by David Canright, Galveston Historical Foundation

Some were ravaged by fire and have survived hurricanes throughout the years.  Nonetheless, all of the homes during May’s Historic Homes Tour remain as sturdy reminders of the island’s history and heritage.

The 38th Annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour is a self-guided tour highlighting ten structures – a mishmash of late 19thcentury and early 20th century cottages, Victorian-style homes and commercial buildings dating from 1870 through 1916.  Tour dates are May 5, 6, 12 and 13, 2012

“The Historic Homes Tour allows the Galveston Historical Foundation to showcase our island’s extraordinary architecture and history,” says foundation Executive Director Dwayne Jones.  “With the cooperation of homeowners and many volunteers, you can experience the places that make Galveston distinctive and beautiful.  This year’s lineup of houses and special events will continue this wonderful early summer tradition that brings back thousands to historic Galveston Island.”

Five of the homes are on the island’s East End, two are between 31st and 34th streets, and three lie south of Broadway.  Docents at each location will help further explain the homes’ history including who lived there and when.  This year, three structures have been added to the tour for the first time: the John L. Darragh Tenant House, the Charles F. Rhode Co. Island City Cigar Factory, and the Oscar and Laurence Hoecker House.

“When going into the homes, you get a feeling of the island’s heritage,” says Will Wright, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Galveston Historical Foundation.  “There are houses that have been kept within the families for generations.   That’s not always the case now, but when we look at the history of the homes, they stay with the families for quite a long time.”

This year’s tours kick off with a “Sunset on the Sand” evening event on May 4, and visitors purchasing tickets to that and to a May 13 Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch and Fashion Show will be given complimentary tickets for the Historic Homes Tour.  All visitors purchasing Homes Tour tickets will be allowed free entry in a giveaway for a cruise on any cruise line out of Galveston Island, at any time of the year and for any destination.

Tickets are $15 for Galveston Historical Foundation members and $20 for non-members before May 4 and are available for purchase online at and at all area Kroger Food Stores.  Tickets are $25 for non-members after May 4.

All homes on this year’s tour and related event information, as outlined by the Galveston Historical Foundation, follow below.


Louis and Margaret Wenzel Cottage, 1870 – 2002 Avenue N½ : Originally owned by Louis and Margaret Wenzel, early German immigrants to Galveston, this 1870s vernacular cottage has been moved twice. In 1959, the old house was moved from the front of the lot at the original location on Broadway to the back, making room for a street-front commercial bicycle shop.

John L. Darragh Tenant House, 1886 – 1510 Church Street: Originally located in the 1800 block of Postoffice Street, this double gallery, side hall Victorian was one of three identical structures built by John L. Darragh in 1886 as rental property after a fire in 1885 destroyed more than 40 blocks of homes, creating a housing shortage.

Restoration In Progress: McKinney-McDonald House, 1890 – 926 Winnie: GHF purchased this formidable Victorian residence in January 2011 in order to save it from the threat of demolition. Built in 1890 for Liberty S. and Annie McKinney, the commanding 2½ story frame house was vacant since sustaining fire damage in 1993. GHF’s purchase of the McKinney-McDonald house continues the work of the Foundation’s Revolving Fund, celebrating its 40th year, which enables the stabilization of endangered properties in support of neighborhood revitalization.

Christian Wolfer Tenant Cottage, 1891 – 3101 Avenue Q: Built in 1891 by German carpenter Christian L. Wolfer, this Victorian gable-front cottage was donated to GHF by the owners with the condition that the building be relocated. Moved by GHF in February, 2010, this Hurricane Ike ravaged structure was renovated by GHF and has received local, state and national awards.

Robert and Carrie Palliser House, 1895 – 1904 Avenue M: Prominent local contractor, Robert Palliser, built this raised three-bay, two-story house with double verandas in 1895 for his residence. An English immigrant, Palliser’s works included Galveston’s Grand Hotel and Opera House, the First National Bank Building and City Hall (demolished).

August J. Henck Cottage, 1897 – 1412 Sealy: In 1897, prominent German real estate broker and builder August J. Henck built this raised Victorian five-bay-wide cottage for his residence. The L-shape structure features a projecting chamfered bay, crowned by a gabled roof, with dove tail shingles and ornamental brackets at the cornice level.

Charles F. Rhode Co., Island City Cigar Factory, 1898 – 2001 Postoffice Street: German immigrant Charles Rhode built this two-story, two-part commercial building in 1898, to house his business, the Island City Cigar Factory. A typical design for turn of the century commercial buildings, the first floor features double storefronts featuring display windows and double door entries.

Josephine Drouet House, 1898 – 1409 Avenue M: Built by French immigrant Josephine Chambord Drouet after the death of her husband Sebastian, this classic dormered Queen Anne cottage has been moved twice. Saved from demolition by GHF in 2004, the house was moved to 1409 Avenue M.

Oscar and Laurence Hoecker House, 1916 – 3315 Avenue O: This two-story Craftsman with porte-cochere was built by Oscar Rudolph Hoecker and his wife Laurence Eugenia. In 1916, the couple built this house and insurance records indicate construction was completed in 20 days. The house remained in the Hoecker family until 1979.

Louis and Anita Runge House, 1916 – 1301 Market Street: Architect Anton F. Korn, a representative of New York architects Crow, Lewis & Wickenhoefer, designed this Italian villa for prominent German businessman Louis H. Runge and his wife Anita. Built in 1916, the house remained in the Runge family until 1988 when it was sold to the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB).


May 4 – Sunset on the Sand: A Kick-Off to the 38th Annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour: Join GHF from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at Beachtown Galveston, 1625 East Beach Drive, for a special evening at Galveston’s premiere beachfront community. Music will be provided by The Mambo Jazz Kings and hors d’oeurves, complimentary wine and beer and a fascinating tour of some of Beachtown’s finest properties will be available. A cash bar will be on hand for mixed drinks and dress is island casual. Price is $60 per person and includes a ticket to the Galveston Historic Homes Tour. Advance reservations required.

May 6 – Biking Through History Tour: One of the best ways to explore Galveston Island is by bicycle, where a person is able to take their time and soak in the Island’s history and beauty. GHF’s Matt Farragher will lead this popular tour through Galveston’s Downtown and East End Historic District highlighting historic properties, GHF projects, tree sculptures, and points of interest in between. The tour begins at 10 a.m. at GHF Headquarters, 502 20th Street, and is $10 per person with signed waiver. Participants will need to provide their own bicycle and helmets and safety equipment are strongly encouraged. Tours are limited to 10 patrons and will last approximately one hour. Advance reservations required.

May 6 – Lemonade Day Galveston Stands at each home on tour: GHF is proud to partner with the Galveston Chamber of Commerce to salute Lemonade Day, a nationwide event that teaches kids the skills they need to be successful in life. Each house on tour will feature a Lemonade Day stand and is the perfect opportunity for our community to show kids that we care. Come thirsty and support Galveston’s young entrepreneurs!

May 12 – Sally Wallace Preservation Awards: Each year GHF’s Preservation Resource Center hosts this award named in honor of a pivotal Galveston historic preservation pioneer. The annual award ceremony will be held at Menard Hall, 3302 Avenue O at 6 p.m. Projects, craftspeople and individuals that help improve the historic architecture of Galveston Island will be recognized and awarded. Admission is free.

May 12 – History on Tap: Mint Julep’s at Menard: History on Tap returns with Mint Julep’s at the 1838 Michel B. Menard House. Beginning at 7 p.m. and located at 1605 33rd Street, this ongoing series of events allows participants to interact with various GHF properties outside of the standard tour environment. Additionally, each event is paired with a different distillery or brewery that directly ties into the event’s discussion. Join GHF as Maker’s Mark is welcomed for a discussion on the history of this race day favorite and Galveston’s oldest surviving residential building. Admission is $15 per person and advance reservations are required

May 13 – Linen and Lace: A Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch and Fashion Show: A perfect start for Mother’s Day begins at the 1880 Garten Verein Pavilion, 2704 Avenue O, with the 8th annual Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch from 10 a.m. to noon. Attendees will enjoy a delicious brunch by Carriage Caterers and the latest spring/summer fashions by Galveston’s Head to Footsies boutique. All patrons are automatically entered to win fabulous door prizes! Linen and lace is the preferred attire. Admission is $45 per person and includes a Historic Homes Tour ticket. Advance reservations are required.


During the four days of the Homes Tour, ticket holders will be entitled to a $5 admission to the Bishop’s Palace, the Texas Seaport Museum, and Galveston’s oldest surviving residential dwelling, the 1838 Menard House (open Saturday, May 5 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. only), as well as a special $5 rate for a Historic Harbor Tour and Dolphin Watch aboard Seagull II.

During the four days of the Homes Tour, tour ticket holders will also receive $5 admission to Bishop’s PalaceTexas Seaport Museum1877 Tall Ship ELISSA and Historic Harbor Tour and Dolphin Watch.

For more information on Galveston Historical Foundation’s 38th Annual Galveston Homes Tour or any of the associated special events, please visit