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Galveston Historical Foundation

Special Event Venues

Galveston Historical Foundation owns and operates historic special event venues throughout Galveston Island and these beloved locations are available for private event rentals. Whether you’re planning a memorable wedding, sweet 15 festivities, baby shower, birthday luncheon, graduation or your annual holiday get-to-gather we offer unique venues to not only meet but to exceed your expectations.  For more information on our historical sites and to schedule a site visit please contact Lauraleigh Gourley at your earliest convenience at 409-765-3402.

1838 Michel B. Menard House

Special Event VenuesGalveston’s oldest home, located at 1605 33rd Street, the Greek revival Michel B. Menard House provides an intimate setting for small weddings, receptions, dinners, and luncheons. Grand Ionic columns provide a backdrop for photos, and a lovely collection of period antiques fills the house’s interior. Shaded by stately live oaks, the landscaped grounds and gazebo also are available for outdoor functions.

INDOOR CAPACITY

75 for stand-up function and 24 for seated dinner. The dining room of the Menard House has been meticulously furnished with exquisite federal period antiques.

EXTERIOR CAPACITY

150 for a stand-up function. The spacious, live-oak shaded grounds of the Menard House contain a romantic gazebo, perfect for sheltering a band, a buffet, or to serve as a podium for your special event.

Menard House is a privately owned and operated historic site listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Menard Hall

Special Event VenuesMenard Hall, located at 3302 Avenue O, is a spacious detached facility set in the grounds of the Historic Menard Complex, which also includes the 1838 Michel B. Menard House and Menard Cottage. Menard Hall is ideal for meetings, lectures, and conferences. It is also the perfect setting for luncheons, dinners, weddings, receptions, showers and other events that require unique and elegant surroundings. The back yard and gazebo of the Menard House may be added as an additional venue at a nominal fee.

CAPACITY

96 for a seated event or 80 with a small dance floor. A caterer’s kitchen is available.

1859 Ashton Villa

Special Event VenuesThe 1859 Ashton Villa, first of Galveston’s great Broadway mansions, has long been at the center of the Island’s social life. The home’s original first-floor interior rooms, with their elegant architecture and gold filigree, have been the site of stylish entertainment since before the Civil War, and, newly restored from the damage inflicted by Hurricane Ike.

For larger events, consider the spacious open ballroom, which was added in the 1920s for use by the affluent Brown family, the building’s first owners. With its low stage, caterer’s prep room, restroom facilities, and convenient parking, the ballroom provides an enchanting setting for weddings and receptions, luncheons, parties, dinners or business meetings.

Ashton Villa’s Grand Ballroom, with its elaborate chandelier and dramatic lighting, makes an elegant venue for your event.

CAPACITY

250 standing, 200 seated with the dance floor. Rental for 10 contracted hours.

1859 St. Joseph's Church

Special Event VenuesThe oldest German Catholic Church in Texas and the oldest wooden church building in Galveston, St. Joseph’s was built by German immigrants in 1859-60. Bishop John Odin, the first Catholic bishop of Texas, recommended that a church be built for the German-speaking Catholics of the growing city. The church was dedicated in April 1860, to St. Joseph, the patron saint of laborers. The building is a simple wooden gothic revival structure, rectangular with a square bell tower with trefoil window. The softly painted interior features a coffered ceiling with painted quatrefoils and other gothic symbols, plaster of Paris Stations of the Cross with German inscriptions dating from the early years of the 20th century and the original, elaborate main and side altars with reredos as well as many of the original statues and altar furnishings.

CAPACITY

200

1877 Tall Ship ELISSA

With moonlight silhouetting the masts of the 1877 tall ship Elissa, the official Tall Ship of Texas provides a romantic, outdoor setting for weddings and receptions. The location on Galveston’s historic waterfront also offers a picturesque site for a variety of business and social functions.

Galveston Historical Foundation brought ELISSA, an 1877 square-rigged iron barque, from a scrapyard in Piraeus Harbor, Greece to Galveston to begin restoration work in 1978. By 1982, GHF staff and volunteers completed restoration and transformed this rare, historic vessel into a floating museum that would actively sail. Today, ELISSA is one of only three ships of her kind in the world to still actively sail and welcomes over 40,000 visitors annually. She also serves as the Official Tall Ship of Texas, a National Historic Landmark and a symbol of the Gulf Coast’s historic beginnings as a seaport and active waterfront.

CAPACITY

  • 500 on Elissa and museum site
  • 300 for seated dinner on the pier

Fee includes Elissa’s decks, galleries, officers’ quarters, and galley for use as a serving area or bar, as well as the museum’s pier and restrooms. All functions must be catered; no kitchen facilities are available.

1880 Garten Verein

Special Event VenuesOne of Galveston’s favorite special event venues! Set in verdant Kempner Park, the historic Garten Verein tiered dancing pavilion offers a magical venue for weddings, receptions, dinners, and parties. The building’s most unique octagonal design and panoramic windows allow spectacular views from every angle. It resembles a grand glassed-in gazebo. This air-conditioned facility includes a caterer’s prep room, stage and dance floor.

CAPACITY

  • 300 for stand-up function,
  • 250 for seated dinner

Please Note: Pavilion rentals include the Kuhn Memorial Pergola or the surrounding Kempner Park

1892 Bishop's Palace

Bishop’s Palace, also known as the Walter and Josephine Gresham House, is one of the island’s best known and most popular tourist attractions. Bishop’s Palace is recognized as one of the nation’s most important late 19th century Victorian residences. Nicholas Clayton, Texas’ most accomplished architect of the period, designed the house for the Gresham family. In 1921, Galvestonians raised money to buy the house for the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese to make it the home of Bishop Byrne.

GHF purchased the property in 2013 from the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese. The foundation is the third owner of the property and assumed management in 2007. It welcomes over 65,000 local, national and international visitors each year.

Bishop’s Palace also makes a fine setting for wedding photography by arrangement. Bishop’s Palace is not available as a special event venue. 

SEAGULL II

Seagull II makes an excellent and unusual venue for birthday parties, office get-togethers, receptions, convention features, and more. The ever-changing scenery of the busy harbor, the excitement of a dolphin sighting, a restful sunset over an island occupied only by birds, combine to make your event one to remember.

For reservation information, call us at 409-763-1877.

Hendley Green

Special Event VenuesGalveston Historical Foundation has created Galveston’s newest downtown urban green space, Hendley Green. GHF began work in 2013 to design a public park that would both accommodate outdoor community activities, while also highlighting the history of the Strand-Mechanic Historic District, a National Historic Landmark. The Park provides immediate public access to approximately 500 permanent residents living in the historic district, 1,700 individuals employed in the historic district, 25,000 residents within a walkable distance, and made accessible to a growing body of tourists to Galveston, TX. It is also available as a special event venue.

ACCESSIBILITY

Galveston Historical Foundation is committed to making our special event venues and historic sites special needs accessible. If you have special needs contact 409-765-7834 for more information.

ABOUT GALVESTON HISTORICAL FOUNDATION

Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) was formed as the Galveston Historical Society in 1871 and merged with a new organization formed in 1954 as a non-profit entity devoted to historic preservation and history in Galveston County. Over the last sixty years, GHF has expanded its mission to encompass community redevelopment, historic preservation advocacy, maritime preservation, coastal resiliency and stewardship of historic properties. GHF embraces a broader vision of history and architecture that encompasses advancements in environmental and natural sciences and their intersection with 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.

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