Galveston Historical Foundation opens the doors to Galveston’s architectural history through public tours of privately owned homes for the first two weekends each May,. The 41st annual Galveston Historic homes tour will be held May 2nd, 3rd, 9th and 10th, 2015. Tickets are $20 for non-members before May 2 and $25 after and are available at:

  • www.galvestonhistory.org
  • Houston area Randalls Food Stores beginning April 9
  • The Shop at The Palace, 1402 Broadway
  • Eighteen Seventy One, 2217 Strand
  • Architectural Salvage Warehouse, 2228 Broadway
  • Additional information can be found by calling 409-762-2475

“The annual GHF Historic homes tour is our way of welcoming guests into our historic homes and exchanging the stories of our past.  Each year we feature houses that reflect our diverse architectural heritage but also relate the interesting stories of who lived here and made Galveston home” says Dwayne Jones, Galveston Historical Foundation’s Executive Director. “The tour is a vital part of our community and brings visitors from around the country who love Galveston’s architecture.  Many visitors come back to vacation or purchase houses that further the preservation of our island.”

NEW IN 2015

The 41st annual tradition continues to reinvent itself with new events and features.

With nine homes and great special events, it’s easy to find yourself with more to do than you have time to do. This year’s Early Bird ticket could be just what you need to make the most of your homes tour experience. These tickets come with a full tour ticket and are limited to 100 per day for $50 each. Enjoy access to three tour homes from 8 – 10 a.m. Get a head start on your homes tour adventure!

Beachtown prides itself on taking Galveston’s historical architectural heritage into the future. Guests at this year’s Historic homes tour will also be able to tour three homes in different stages of construction. Start your tour at 630 Beachtown Drive. While there, be sure to bid on an auction prize to stay a week in a most charming five bedroom, 4 ½ bath home in Beachtown, valued at $10,000!

Ready to wind down after a long day? Enjoy the more relaxing settings of our homes tour Happy Hours each Saturday. Featuring the beautiful Cedar Lawn development on May 2 and historic Samuel May Williams home on May 9, enjoy light appetizers and beverages in these relaxed settings. Tickets are $50 for the first weekend and $30 for the second and spaces are limited.

FAMILIAR FAVORITES

These yearly events have quickly become an annual “must have” for homes tour guests. For those looking for fine dining options, the History on Tap dinners give guests the opportunity to enjoy specially created meals in two tour homes starting with the 1909 Fordtran-Viotto House on Friday, May 1 and the 1856/1889 John H. and Minnie Knox Hutching’s Home, the 2015 cover home, on Friday, May 9. Finally, the 1880 Garten Verein will host a special Mother’s Day brunch complete with corsages, live jazz trio and brunch on Sunday, May 10th. Seats are limited to all special events and advance registration is required.

2015 HOMES ON TOUR

1856/1889 John H. and Minnie Knox Hutchings House – 2816 Avenue O

In 1856, Texas merchant and planter, Robert Mills, built a brick residence with double galleries for his niece Minnie Knox and her new husband John Henry Hutchings. After a hurricane damaged the house in 1885, John Hutchings hired Nicholas Clayton to remodel the mansion and construct a carriage house, resulting in a Romanesque Revival villa.

1874 Thomas Cordray Tenant House – 607 11th

Early Galveston pioneer and carpenter Thomas J. Cordray purchased two lots on the corner of Church and 11th in 1856. Soon after, he built his own home on the corner, fronting Church, and in 1874, he built a two-story townhouse with Greek Revival elements behind the family’s residence to use as rental property. The property was later purchased by Thomas W. Dealey, secretary and treasurer of the Belo Company, publishers of The Galveston County Daily News.

c.1875 George and Elizabeth Fox House – 1514 Mechanic

Native Galvestonian and master baker George Fox built this townhouse for his family sometime between 1873 and 1875. George and his brother, Christopher, were proprietors of Fox’s Steam Bakery, established by their father in 1837. A successful merchant by the turn of the century, Fox relocated his family a few blocks south to Ball, where he built a new house in 1903. After his death in 1914, his family continued to maintain ownership of the Mechanic Street townhouse until 1948.

1887 August Naschke Tenant Cottage – 1423 Church

German immigrant August Naschke, a boot and shoemaker, built this Victorian cottage in 1887 to use as rental property. Later owned by his son, Paul Naschke, a prominent Galveston photographer, the Naschke family owned it as a tenant house for 34 years. Roland Anderson, a Swedish sea captain who immigrated to Galveston in 1891, purchased the property in 1921. The Anderson family occupied the cottage for more than 50 years.    

1899 Samuel J. and Odile Williams House – 1507 24th

In 1899, retail merchant, Sam Williams, built this house for his new wife, Odile. During the first phase of the grade-raising following the 1900 storm (1904-1910), the house was lifted and ground floor enclosed, resulting in a two-story home. After purchasing the property in 2006, the current owners reversed unsympathetic alterations that had obscured historic features of the house. In 2011, GHF recognized the rehabilitation of the property with a Sally Wallace Preservation Award. 

1909 Fordtran-Viotto House – 3412 Avenue O

Built in 1909, Eugene Fordtran Jr., and his German immigrant wife, Agness Elizabeth, lived in this Queen Anne house until 1914.  Employed as an inspector for the Texas Cotton Seed Crushers Association, Fordtran was the grandson of Charles Fordtran, an early German settler that arrived in Texas in 1831. Thomas Viotto, owner of Viotto Brothers Produce, purchased the house in 1922. He and his heirs would occupy the property for the next 82 years.

1910 Spain-McKenzie House – 1422 25th

In 1910, Russian immigrant and real estate developer Max “Mike” Spain built this transitional Victorian house with Classical Revival elements for investment property. Ten years later Spain sold the house to steamship agent Kenneth McKenzie and his wife, Nicholas, who emigrated from Scotland to Galveston in 1886.  The McKenzie family would maintain ownership of the property until 1977.

1914 Raoul Dreyfus Tenant House – 3406 Avenue P

French immigrant Raoul Dreyfus built this Craftsman bungalow in 1914 to use as investment property for his firm, Dreyfus & Arnold Real Estate. Featuring “every modern convenience, handsome electrical fixtures and built in bookcases”, the company leased the house for $35 a month. Thomas Henry Nolan was the first owner to occupy the house. Born in Galveston in 1883, Nolan purchased the property in 1945 and lived there until his death in 1976.   

Restoration in Progress – 2123 Avenue K, built 1887

In 1887, John Burnett, president of the Gulf City Street Railway & Real Estate Company built four identical two-story houses south of Broadway in the working class San Jacinto neighborhood. Galveston Historical Foundation purchased one of the two remaining houses in October 2014. Divided into four apartments by a previous owner, GHF is currently rehabilitating the house as a single-family dwelling.

HOMES TOUR SPECIAL EVENTS

All events include a complimentary 2015 homes tour Ticket unless otherwise noted. Seats are limited at all special events.

May 1 – History on Tap Dinner at the 1909 Fordtran-Viotto House

Take an exclusive tour by the home owners of this 1909 tour home while a celebrity chef creates a one-of-a-kind dining experience for special guests.  This History on Tap dinner is limited to 16 seats and is sure to be a great kick-off to the first weekend of the 41st annual Historic homes tour. Tickets are $150 per person.

May 2 – Opening Day Celebration & Brunch

Enjoy a delicious brunch in the charming setting of Porch Café in Beachtown, 1625 E Beach. Held from 9-11 a.m., it’s the perfect way to kick-off your homes tour weekend.  Brunch is $45 per person .

May 2 – Cedar Lawn Preview

Enjoy some of Cedar Lawn’s finest with this special homes tour happy hour. Guests will be able to tour each home as well as enjoy selected wine and cheese pairings at each stop. Tickets are $50 per person.

May 8 – History on Tap Dinner at the 1856/1889 John H. and Minnie Knox Hutchings House

Experience outdoor dining under the gazebo of the homes tour cover house! Featuring a special tour of the property and a custom created dinner menu, guests will get a first-hand look at this sprawling estate and Romanesque Revival villa. Tickets are $150 per person.

May 9 – Stephen Fox Private Tour and Lecture at University of Texas Medical Branch’s “Old Red”

The history of UTMB’s famous Old Red, designed by Nicholas Clayton, comes alive with this special tour and talk. Led by noted architectural historian Stephen Fox, enjoy an exclusive tour of the building and a brief lecture. $25 per person.

May 10 – Homes Tour Happy Hour at the 1839 Samuel May Williams House

One of Galveston’s earliest homes is also the site of one of homes tour’s newest events! Enjoy self-guided tours of this rarely opened house. The spacious grounds will also host light appetizers and beverages to attendees. Tickets are $25 per person.

May 10 – Mother’s Day Jazz Brunch at the 1880 Garten Verein

We celebrate mom with this re-imagined Mother’s Day tradition. Enjoy a hearty brunch, door prizes, flowers and a few surprises in the beautiful 1880 Garten Verein. Live entertainment will be on hand courtesy of Houston’s “Jazz Forever” trio. Tickets are $50 per person.

ADDITIONAL ATTRACTIONS, DISCOUNTS AND MEMBER TICKETS

Specially priced, $15 tickets are available for members of Galveston Historical Foundation. For more information, members can visit any of our retail locations or call 409-762-2475. During the four days of the homes tour, ticket holders will be entitled to a $5 admission to the Bishop’s Palace, Historic Harbor Tour and Dolphin Watch aboard Seagull II and 1877 iron barque ELISSA at the Texas Seaport Museum.

For more information on Galveston Historical Foundation’s 41st Annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour or any of the associated special events, please contact Will Wright, Director of Marketing & Special Events at 409-765-3404 will.wright@galvestonhistory.org or visit www.galvestonhistory.org.