Galveston Historical Foundation

Tour Homes : Galveston Historic Homes Tour

Galveston Historical Foundation opens the doors to the island’s architectural history through public tours of privately owned homes during its annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour. Large, small, and everything in between, the 2024 tour will have something for everyone! In addition to the tours, the annual event features numerous special events, allowing guests unique experiences in many of the tour homes and historic sites across the island.



1. 1839 Samuel May and Sarah Scott Williams House
3601 Avenue P

During the winter of 1839, banker, merchant, and a City of Galveston founder, Samuel May Williams, had this raised early Greek Revival built in the Galveston Outlots where “suburban” homes on twenty-acre lots allowed the city’s elite to escape the urban center. Building materials were limited in the newly formed city, however, so the house was prefabricated in Maine and shipped to Galveston to be reassembled. In 1954, Galveston Historical Foundation, under the direction of one of its founders Anne Brindley, purchased the property and saved it from demolition. The Texas Historical Commission designated the house a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1962. It is the second oldest extant residence on the island.

2. c.1859 John Henry Moser Cottage
1208 25th Street

The origin of this vernacular Greek Revival cottage is a mystery. As it does not appear on the historic 1871 Bird’s Eye View map of Galveston it may have been moved there from another location. German carpenter Peter Moser originally owned the land, five lots in total, which he gifted to his wife, Eliza, in 1872. Several small buildings occupied the lots by 1885 when Eliza rebuilt this three-room cottage for her son, John, who utilized the property as both his residence and marble cutting business.


3. c.1871 Frederick and Minna Martini Cottage
1217 Market Street

This elevated one-story cottage with centered one-bay-wide porch and double dormers is one of the best examples of the Gulf Coast cottage form commonly seen in Galveston. Situated on two full lots, bookkeeper Frederick Martini and his wife, Minna, built the house and maintained the family residence there until 1913. The building retains original details that include shuttered six-over-six windows and a simple but elegant entry framed by sidelights and transom.


4. 1887 Albert Rakel House
1808 Postoffice Street – Alfred Muller, Architect

In 1887, wholesale grocer Albert Rakel chose one of Galveston’s newest architects, Alfred Muller, to design this three-bay Southern townhouse with Queen Anne features, and twin building (1802 Postoffice), for use as investment property. Born in Prussia and educated in Berlin, Muller arrived in Galveston after the Great Fire of 1885 devastated a 40-block area. A recently completed rehabilitation of the property retained and enhanced Muller’s interior stylistic elements that complement the exuberant trim of the building’s exterior.

5. 1888 Alphonse Kenison House
1720 Avenue K

Alphonse Kenison contracted this two-story Southern townhouse to be built for use as investment property in 1888. The three-bay, side-hall house interior features preserved decorative elements as well as a double-gallery on the main façade with spindlework and unusually fine detailing. Kenison arrived in Galveston from Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 1859 and worked in the lumber industry before he entered the insurance business in 1879 as partner in the firm Dyer, Beers & Kenison. Upon his death in 1921, he was one of the best-known insurance agents in Texas.

6. 1891 Christian Wolfer Tenant Cottage
3101 Avenue Q

Built in 1891 by German carpenter Christian L. Wolfer, Galveston Historical Foundation moved this Victorian gable-front cottage in 2010. Ravaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008, GHF’s rehabilitation of the cottage preserved and reused ninety percent of the existing materials and utilized added materials from GHF’s Architectural Salvage Warehouse. Known today as the Green Revival House, it is one of the first historic buildings in the nation to be certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for Homes Platinum by the United States Green Building Council.

7. 1896 William and Adele Skinner House
1318 Sealy – Charles Bulger, Architect

Architect Charles W. Bulger designed this exquisite two-story Queen Anne house for banker William Cooke Skinner and his wife, Adele. Born and educated in Indiana, Bulger arrived in Galveston in 1891, where he practiced for several years before moving to Dallas. Bulger’s design features a multi-gabled roof-line, wrap-around galleries and finely crafted details. The Texas Historical Commission designated it as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 2017.


8. 1928 Sally Trueheart Williams House
1616 Broadway – Cameron Fairchild, Architect

Houston architect Cameron Fairchild designed this Mediterranean-style villa for Sally Trueheart Williams to serve as a new residence for her and her mother. The lots previously supported the massive house owned by her father, real estate capitalist Henry Martyn Trueheart (1885, Nicholas Clayton). Building contractor William Roitsch erected Williams’ new residence in the gardens adjacent to the Trueheart mansion. When completed, Williams demolished her childhood home and sold the remaining lots. (Dr. Albert and Willie Dean Singleton House at 1602 Broadway was featured on the 2023 tour and also designed by Cameron Fairchild).


9. 1929 Edward and Katherine Randall House
3502 Avenue P – John Staub, architect

Dr. Edward and Katherine Risher Randall hired Houston architect John Staub to design this imposing two-story brick American Neoclassical house with Georgian influences in 1929. Built by Galveston contractor Tom Brown, newspaper reports during construction touted the “outstanding” house as one of the most attractive homes built that year in the city. In 1932, Staub designed a two-story addition on the east side of the house to support a library and second-story bedroom and four years later, Staub expanded the loggia/sleeping porch on the west side of the house. Mrs. Randall served as the chairperson of the first GHF homes tour in 1975. The current rehabilitation of the house is supervised by Galveston Historical Foundation.


10. 1883 William L. Moody Building – The Lofts at Colonel Bubbie’s
2206 Strand – Nicolas Clayton, Architect

William Lewis Moody contracted renowned Galveston architect Nicholas Clayton in 1883 to design this commercial building to house his cotton commission and banking operations. Clayton’s design features ornamental brick work, cast iron storefronts and triple windows framed with brick surrounds and yellow tile. Originally four-stories tall, the building’s decorative cornice and fourth floor were lost during the 1900 Storm. A recent rehabilitation of the building preserved the ground floor commercial space and redesigned the upper floors to support luxury loft apartments.

11. 1905 Charles Marschner Building- Texas Bottling Works
1914 Mechanic Street

German immigrant Charles F. Marschner, and his wife, Marie, hired brick contractor Otto Haas in 1905 to build this two-story building for both their residence and business, the Texas Bottling Works. This commercial building is outside of the Strand Mechanic Historic District but is significant for its decorative brick work and a stepped parapet wall. Recent owners restored the building in 1989 and continue to occupy it as a mixed-use building. The Texas Historical Commission designated it as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark in 1996.


Tickets are non-refundable. In case of inclement weather, the tour may be discontinued temporarily or for the remainder of the day. Smoking, photos, food, drinsks, and pets are not permitted. If we can assist with special needs arrangements, please contact us at 409-765-7834 in advance of your visit.

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