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Galveston Historical Foundation
City National Bank Building

GHF Becomes Steward of 1920 City National Bank Building

Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) recently accepted one of Galveston Island’s most significant downtown buildings. The 1920 City National Bank Building, owned by Ross Moody, a trustee of The Moody Foundation and Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of National Western Life Group, was donated to GHF in June. Located in the Central Business District at 2219 Market, the City National Bank building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (1984) and recognized as one of the city’s most important early 20th century buildings.

1920 City National Bank Building“The history and architecture of City National Bank make it one of Galveston’s most distinctive and well-known downtown properties,” states Dwayne Jones, Galveston Historical Foundation’s Executive Director. “GHF is excited about working with this great historic building to bring new life and creative uses to Market Street. We take the stewardship of Galveston’s historic buildings and places very seriously and are creating new ways to experience our fascinating island history all the time.”

In 1907, William L. Moody Jr. founded City National Bank and two years later, purchased the Levy Building, on the corner of Market and 23rd. That location housed banking operations until a new “fire-proof” building, designed by Chicago architects Weary & Alford, opened next door on August 12, 1920. The Moody banking operations were conducted at this location until 1962 and then relocated to the Moody National Bank Building at 2302 Postoffice.


“I’m proud to gift the building to Galveston Historical Foundation and hope it continues to bring pride and enjoyment to the Galveston community.” – Ross Moody
William L. Moody Jr. died in 1954 having become a highly respected financier and leader of the multi-million-dollar Moody Enterprises. After his death, his daughter, Mary Moody Northen, assumed leadership of the family’s business empire. In 1972, she donated the building to Galveston County to use as a museum until it was returned to Mary Moody Northen Endowment after Hurricane Ike in 2008. Ross Moody acquired the building several years ago and chose to donate the building to GHF for stewardship.

“One of the defining traits of Galveston is its rich architectural history. The City National Bank Building, built by my great-grandfather, is part of that tradition,” said Ross Moody. “I’m proud to gift the building to Galveston Historical Foundation and hope it continues to bring pride and enjoyment to the Galveston community.”

GHF owns or manages more than twenty historic buildings and maritime resources in Galveston including Ashton Villa (1859), the Tall Ship ELISSA (1877), the Gresham House (Bishop’s Palace)(1892), the GH&H Railroad Depot (1904), and more.

ABOUT GALVESTON HISTORICAL FOUNDATION

Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) merged with the Historical Society of Galveston, formed in 1871, to create a new non-profit entity in 1954 devoted to historic preservation and history in Galveston County. Over the last sixty years, GHF has expanded its mission to cover community redevelopment, historic preservation advocacy, maritime preservation, coastal resiliency, and stewardship of diverse historic properties. GHF embraces an inclusive and broader view of history and architecture that encompasses advancements in environmental and natural sciences. GHF recognizes the intersection of historic buildings and coastal life and conceives of history as an engaging story of individual lives and experiences on Galveston Island from the 19th century to the present day.

3 comments

  • City National Bank is one of the most beautiful interior spaces in Galveston. I am thrilled that it will be protected by GHF’s excellent stewardship

  • That is such wonderful news. I hope we can have a way to tour, at least on the first floor of the bank.
    The Gresham House is not the Bishop’s Palace. In the list of properties it is confusing the way it is listed.

  • This is great news! I love this particular building and I know the Foundation will take great care of it and make the best use of this beautiful historic property.

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