The popular tour benefits GHF’s ongoing restoration of St. Joseph’s Church, the oldest wooden church building in Galveston and the oldest German Catholic church in Texas. A wide range of religious traditions and building styles will be featured, highlighting the island’s rich religious heritage while showcasing the depth and range of Galveston’s sacred architecture. The 2017 tour will be presented in conjunction with Galveston Historical Foundation’s annual Galveston Heritage Day. Tickets are $15 per person and available online.
“Galveston’s Sacred Places are a significant part of our history. When you tour these great buildings you can learn the story of some of the lives of generations of Galvestonians,” states GHF Executive Director Dwayne Jones. “This tour is a glimpse into our past and one that will broaden your idea of what living on the island is really like.”
Check in for the Sacred Places Tour will be held at St. Joseph’s Church, 2202 Avenue K, starting at 9 a.m. You will be given a map of additional churches which you can visit from 9 am – 1 pm.
2017 CHURCHES (click images for larger versions)
St. Joseph’s Church, 1859
2202 Avenue K
By the middle of the 19th century, Galveston Island was home to nearly three thousand German immigrants, almost half the total population. Bishop John Odin, the first Catholic bishop of Texas, recommended a church be built for the German-speaking of the growing city. Erected in 1859 and dedicated in April 1860, St. Joseph’s is the oldest wooden church building in Galveston and the oldest German Catholic church in Texas.
Wesley Tabernacle United Methodist Church
902 28TH Street
At the end of the American Civil War, many African-American congregations organized, including Wesley Tabernacle United Methodist Church. Founded in 1869 on Broadway between 38th and 39th Streets, the growing congregation relocated to 28th Street where they erected a new building. Destroyed by the Great Storm of 1900, the surviving parishioners built the current sanctuary in 1901. The building was designed and built by John Tankersley, an African American carpenter.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
928 14th Street (14th and Broadway)
The history of Sacred Heart parish began in 1854 when the Galveston City Company conveyed the square block bounded by 13th Street, Broadway, 14th Street, and Avenue I (Sealy) to Bishop John M. Odin of Galveston. After the Great Storm of 1900 destroyed the original sanctuary, the eclectic design with Moorish style features was designed by Brother Peter Jiminez and erected in 1903. Galveston’s famed architect Nicholas Clayton added the onion dome in 1910-1912.
Galveston Bible Church
424 19TH Street
Galveston Bible Church was founded in January 1975 as Believer’s Fellowship. A member of the Evangelical Free Church of America, the group worshipped in private homes until 1987when they purchased a small chapel on the corner of 19th and Postoffice Street. Built in 1924 and designed by Chicago architect A. C. Fehlow, the Mission style building was originally the chapel for the local Salvation Army.
Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church
719 19TH Street
In 1895, members of the island’s Greek community joined with the city’s Serbian, Russian and Syrian citizens to found the first Eastern Orthodox Church in Texas. In 1933, the Greek community formed its own congregation and purchased the former Lutheran church on the corner of 19th Street and Ball Avenue. After the building was damaged by fire, a new building, inspired by Byzantine architecture, was completed in 1964. The church was consecrated seven years later by Bishop John of Thermon.