40th Annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour

40th Annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour

Lucas TerraceGalveston Island, Texas – The 40th annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour opens the doors to numerous, privately owned, historic island homes May 2nd through 4th and 10th through 11th, 2014. This year’s tour, which features nine homes, six of which have never been on tour, also hosts numerous special events and spotlights new island construction with specially selected additional homes both weekends.

Tickets are $20 for non-members before May 2 and are available for purchase online, by calling, 409-762-2475 and at all area Randalls Food Stores beginning April 9. Tickets are $25 for non-members after May 2.

“The 2014 Historic Homes Tour is one of our strongest set of houses and properties in a number of years,” says Dwayne Jones, Galveston Historical Foundation’s Executive Director. “The range of dates and architectural styles provide an excellent overview of Galveston’s architectural history. It’s a “not to be missed” architectural tour.”

The 40th anniversary event also will highlight new island construction with two weekends of specially themed new homes. New construction with a reference to the historic architecture of Galveston Island is showcased the first weekend with ticket holders having the opportunity to visit select new homes in the award winning Beachtown development, 630 Beachtown Drive, where nationally recognized architects are inspired by Galveston’s rich architectural heritage. A private residence at 1227 Sealy will also be open for ticket holders.

Selected homes will also be available the second weekend that showcase new building focusing on green or environmental design. Homes Tour visitors will be able to view select townhomes at Evia, 58 Island Passage, as well as an additional, privately owned, residence recently certified LEED Platinum at 9111 Teichman Road.

Galveston Historical Foundation members receive $15 tickets which can be purchased by calling 409-765-3405 or by visiting The Shop at The Palace, 1402 Broadway, Eighteen Seventy One, 2217 Strand or the Architectural Salvage Warehouse, 2202 Broadway.

Homes featured on this year’s tour are listed below, as well as separately ticketed special events held in conjunction with this year’s event.


1867 Poole-Parker Cottage – 3419 Avenue L (Featured on Inaugural 1975 Homes Tour)

William Boepple is believed to have built this Greek Revival cottage on land he purchased from Valentine Poole. Poole purchased the house in 1872 which was later sold to John and Emma Jeanne Parker in 1935. Featured on GHF’s first Historic Homes Tour in 1975, Texas Historical Commission designated the Poole Parker Cottage a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1980.

Restoration in Progress, 1874 Smith-Hartley House – 1121 33rd Street

Architect Thomas. J. Overmire came to Galveston in 1874 to design the Grand Southern Hotel. The same year, he announced partnership with English immigrant architect/ builder Sherwin and they designed this Italianate style house for early land speculator J. Mayrant Smith. Smith resided there briefly before moving permanently to his plantation in Richmond. Susan Hartley, widow of early Texas legislature Oliver Cromwell Hartley, purchased the house in 1880. Hartley was the sister of Rebecca Sealy, wife of prominent Galvestonian John Sealy.

1875 Julius and Elizabeth Ruhl House – 1426 Sealy (Homes Tour Debut)

Thomas.J. Overmire’s most significant residential work is this grand-scaled, center-hall plan house. Designed for Julius Ruhl, bookkeeper for the Kaufmann & Runge Company, wholesale grocers and cotton exporters, the house is one of the most notable properties in the East End Historic District. The Ruhl family maintained ownership of the property until 1962.

1886 Adolph and Lena Nitsche House – 1617 Ball (Homes Tour Debut)

German immigrants Adolph and Lena Nitsche built this Victorian style, two-story house next door to St. Paul’s German Presbyterian Church, to their east. During the 1900 storm, the Nitsche house was severely damaged. Lena was there alone, having been widowed a few months before. She oversaw repairs to the building in 1901 and lived there until her death in 1914.

1887 August and Augusta Neumann Cottage – 1827 Avenue M ½ (Homes Tour Debut)

August and Augusta Neumann, immigrants from Germany, built this high-raised Gulf Coast cottage in the working class area now known as the San Jacinto neighborhood. The couple came to Galveston in 1884, where August found work as a musician in the Galveston Beach Band. The cottage is a striking, but modest structure, fitting to the means of this young immigrant couple.

1893 Augusta Peters Townhouse – 1821 Ball (Homes Tour Debut)

On September 10 1870, Augusta Fortmann married Henry B. Peters in Galveston. By 1880, she was a widow with three young children to support. She and her children resided with another widow, Ernestine Schulte, until 1893, when Augusta built twin Victorian townhouses on Ball Street. Augusta and her sons moved into 1821 and used 1823 as tenant property.

1905 Charles Suderman Tenant House – 1815 Ball (Homes Tour Debut)

In 1905, Swedish immigrant Charles Theodore Suderman built this two-story Queen Anne house next door to his residence at 1819 Ball. Intended for use as a tenant property, the house features a hipped roof with an ornamental side gable offsetting double galleries adorned with decorative details.

Restoration in Progress, 1907-1908 Thomas Lucas Apartments, Lucas Terrace – 1407 Broadway (Homes Tour Debut)

Brick mason and English immigrant Thomas Lucas constructed his first apartment building, Lucas Row, in 1894. Situated on the corner of Broadway and Sixth Street facing the beach, the building was completely destroyed by the 1900 hurricane. Lucas salvaged the bricks and rebuilt on the site of his personal residence, taking six years to complete the project. Once completed, Lucas Terrace was advertised as being “superior” to all other apartments in the city.

1928 William and Marie Helmbrecht House – 3815 Bernardo de Galvez 

Cotton exporter William C. Helmbrecht, and his wife, Marie, hired renowned Houston architect John Fanz Staub to design their new home on Avenue P in 1928. Raised in Tennessee and educated at the University of Tennessee and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Staub arrived in Houston in 1921 and established his own firm in 1923. The Helmbrecht house features characteristics Staub was noted for; harmonious proportions, elegant detail, and fine materials.

All events include a complimentary 2014 Homes Tour Ticket unless otherwise noted.

May 2 – The Grand Preview – Antique Appraisals and Home Preview Evening

Held for one night and one night only, GHF’s 1940 Sears Building, at 2202 Broadway, will play host to an evening of champagne, hors d’oeuvres and appraisals of your personal historic items from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Licensed appraisers from Houston’s Simpson Gallery will be on hand to view and appraise your personal items during this special Homes Tour kickoff. Don’t have anything to appraise? The event will allow spectators to see for themselves the items on display. In addition, ticket holders will be able to tour the 1886 Adolph and Lena Nitsche House and the 1907-1908 Thomas Lucas Apartments in advance of Saturday’s Homes Tour start. Tickets are $55 and reservations are encouraged.

May 3 – Stephen Fox Private Tour and Lecture on the Architecture of John Staub

Noted architectural historian Stephen Fox will lead a private tour of the 1928 William and Marie Helmbrecht House, designed by famed architect John Staub, beginning at 9 a.m. After the tour, guests will join Mr. Fox at Menard Hall for a lecture of architect John Staub’s work. Tickets are $65 and spaces are limited for this tour.

May 3 – History on Tap Dinner with Steve Griffith, Executive Chef of Porch Café

Held at Beachtown, the first weekend’s History on Tap dinner features an exclusive opportunity to experience Beachtown’s new construction and fine dining.  With a specially crafted menu by Chef Steve Griffith of Beachtowns’s Porch Cafe, participants will be treated to a unique dining location in one of Beachtown’s under-construction homes, a welcome by GHF Executive Director Dwayne Jones and a first-hand tour of Beachtown’s new construction practices.

May 10 – History on Tap Dinner with Mary Eisenhour Bass, Executive Chef of Haak Winery

The 1875 Julius and Elizabeth Ruhl House welcomes guests to this year’s second weekend History on Tap dinner. Enjoy an exclusive dinner with the owners of this year’s Homes Tour cover house complete with a private tour, welcome by GHF Executive Director Dwayne Jones, drinks and dinner prepared by Haak Winery’s Executive Chef, Mary Bass. Reservations are $150 per person and seating is limited.

May 11 – Second Sunday Jazz Brunch at Garten Verein

Enjoy a specially catered brunch complete with New Orleans style jazz, beginning at 9:30 a.m., in the 1880 Garten Verein. This historic German dancing pavilion is the perfect location for a head start on the final day of Homes Tour or a wonderful Mother’s Day surprise. Tickets are $50 and reservations are required.


Attraction Discounts

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 ELISSA at the Texas Seaport Museum. Galveston’s oldest surviving residence, the 1838 Menard House will be open Saturdays, May 3 and May 10 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. only with a $5 admission.

East End Shuttle Tours

Join Galveston Island Tours’ Matt Farragher as he guides you through a showcase of Galveston’s gorgeous buildings, churches and tree sculptures. Learn about the builders of these magnificent pieces of architecture as well as the history of the island. Tours will focus on the East End, Silk Stocking, Lost Bayou, and the Strand/Mechanic Historic Districts and last approximately one hour. The tour departs from 1892 Bishop’s Palace, 1402 Broadway and runs each day of the tour at 10 am, 12:30, 2:30 and 4:30 pm. Details are available at

For more information on Galveston Historical Foundation’s 40th Annual Galveston Homes Tour or any of the associated special events, please contact Will Wright, Director of Communications and Public Relations at 409-765-3404 or

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