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Galveston Historical Foundation
1838 Menard House

GHF Receives 1838 Menard House in Largest Gift in Foundation History

Galveston’s oldest residence, the 1838 Menard House, has a new place to call home thanks to a recent donation of the property to Galveston Historical Foundation. Current owners, and longtime GHF supporters, Fred, and Pat Burns, recently gifted the 1838 home and surrounding property in what is considered the largest gift in the foundation’s history. The house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“The Menard House is one of the city’s most significant historic properties” explains Dwayne Jones, Chief Executive Officer of Galveston Historical Foundation. “The Burns’ have been outstanding stewards of this property for twenty years and now grant this wonderful legacy to us. We look forward to continuing to operate and maintain the house and grounds for the community and visitors.”

ABOUT THE MENARD COMPLEX

One of the founders of the City of Galveston, Michel B. Menard arrived in Texas in 1829. He was born near Montreal in 1805 and entered the fur trading company of John Jacob Astor at the age of 14. Menard arrived in Nacogdoches in the 1830s and began speculating in Texas land. Because land was only granted to Mexican-born Texans at that time, many of Menard’s land deals were made by Juan Seguin, a Mexican citizen who eventually fought under Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto. Seguin purchased 4,600 acres at the eastern end of Galveston Island on behalf of Menard in December 1836. With this claim, Menard formed the Galveston City Company with Samuel May Williams and other prominent Texas businessmen in 1838.  Galveston was incorporated a year later.

The Menard House is a significant Greek Revival residence residence, built in 1838 and the oldest on the island. Michel Menard died in 1856 and his descendants occupied the house until 1879. In 1880, the house was bought by Edwin N. Ketchum. Ketchum was police chief during the 1900 Storm. The Ketchum family owned the home until the 1970s. During the early 1990s, the house was in such disrepair, it was threatened with demolition by the City of Galveston.  GHF purchased the house to stabilize it and find a new owner.  It was at this time that the Burns’ purchased the house and spent years researching, repairing, and reconstructing it. Through a partnership with Galveston Historical Foundation, the house has been operated as a museum and a location for private events.

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