03 August 2008

Galveston Oh Galveston......

galveston2 002 Hurricanes have wiped out two major United States cities, the first, of course was New Orleans, the second?  Galveston, Texas.  Galveston, a major United States city?  At the time The Great Storm of 1900 leveled Galveston taking 6,000 to 8,000 souls in its wake, Galveston was  a major city with a large population and a booming port.  Houston, its sister city 50 miles west was, by comparison, a small town.  The Great Storm was so catastrophic to the Island City that it remains to this day the largest single natural disaster the United States has ever endured.  Many books have been written about that fateful night and the Herculean effort it took just to dispose of the victims and bring  Galveston back to life.    A large seawall was erected to guard against future storm surges and the city, originally at sea level, was raised.  Any homes that survived the storm were jacked up and any subsequently built houses were elevated above the ground.   (Read an excellent article about the storm and efforts to raise the city here.)

 

1900 Galveston Hurricane

This picture taken the day after the storm shows the massive destruction of Galveston, mostly on its west side.

Galveston never truly recovered from the Great Storm.  It's status as a booming city and major port ended with the Great Storm and when Houston built their own Ship Channel in 1914.   Galveston, essentially, a large sandbar, has experienced a slow, steady decline the past hundred years, but lately, things are turning around for the island city.  It's close proximity to Houston makes it a haven for those seeking second homes on the Gulf of Mexico and tourism increases each year in response to the major attractions being built on the island.   Scores of new condominiums, hotels, and beach homes are being built to meet the demand.  Things are definitely "hopping"  on the island today, but there's another, quieter side to Galveston that is less well known to the beach loving tourists.  The older, Southern, genteel way of life in Galveston's historical neighborhoods is a magnet for those who love architecture and the arts .

Thanks to the vibrant and well organized Galveston Historical Foundation, the old neighborhoods of Galveston are being revitalized at a quick pace.  Houses that survived the Great Storm and those built soon afterwards, make up two main beautiful  areas of town:  the East End National Historical Landmark District and the Silk Stocking District (along with the Lost Bayou District).  For decades, these Victorian houses languished uninhabited and neglected, decaying and deteriorating.   During the past twenty years, that has all changed.   The current revitalization push started with the neighboring Strand (another National Historical District.)   The Strand is a Victorian business district adjacent to the old port which after being rehabbed is now a vital shopping and eating destination in Galveston, even hosting it's own Mardi Gras each year.  After the success of the Strand, Galvestonians and Houstonians with an appreciation for architecture set their sights on the old Victorian painted ladies that fill the two historical districts.  Today, though many unrestored houses remain, the refurbished homes  are finally starting to outnumber those that are not.   Thanks to the dedication and strength of the Galveston Historical Foundation and the East End Historical District Association these wonderful neighborhoods have finally been preserved.   Along with the houses, a way of life has been brought back:  the corner restaurants and bakeries are thriving again, and life goes on as it did before the Great Storm.

 

The East End of Galveston is now a National Historic Landmark.

 

The  architecture of Galveston has been written about by many, including esteemed architects themselves.  The Historical Districts are held up as models to cities such as Houston whose old neighborhoods have disappeared in the name of progress.   The long avenues of the districts with their deep, narrow lots cause a housing density, which along with its front porches encourages a neighborliness that is missing from  the suburbs of today.  Walking up and down the historical streets, a decidedly Southern, old world atmosphere prevails.  With its lush landscaping  and 100 + year old live oaks and palm trees, the Victorian painted ladies can barely been seen through the greenery.  Mostly two storied, the houses have working shutters that in the summer are mostly kept closed to guard against the sun and it's oppressive heat.  For anyone who loves architecture, there can be no greater thrill than gazing at all the varied styles of houses, expertly rehabilitated, primed and painted, ready to face the next 100 years on the island.  Today, take a look at  a few houses I passed along the way during my stay here on Galveston:

 

 

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This Romanesque styled house majestically sits on a corner of the East End National Historical District.  A listed "survivor," meaning this house was built before the Great Storm, it is protected by the Galveston Historical Foundation. 

 

Galveston 116

This Queen Anne has been beautifully rebuilt.  Out front are two large flowering oleanders.   Galveston is famous for its oleanders which line it's major boulevard, Broadway. Each year, the city celebrates this plant with its Oleander  Festival.

Galveston 119

This stucco home has a truly magnificent front gate, complete with lanterns that greet callers at curbside.

 

Galveston 123

The Rosenberg House is an Italianate home, a style that was popular on the Island in the late 1880's.  Again, a beautiful  front gate and iron fence surround this perfectly manicured home.  

Galveston 125

This is the Lovenberg Home, built in 1877 in the Gothic Revival style.  Notice how this home and most of the others are raised above street level.  Since this house is a survivor of the Great Storm, it was raised after the hurricane, as all surviving houses were.  Those built after the hurricane were designed to be raised.  The bottom floor of these raised homes is usually too short to be inhabitable.   Notice too, how the shutters are closed - something that many in the historical districts  do during the summer's unbearable heat.

The iron plaques that houses surviving the Great Storm proudly wear.  It's interesting to think how many will be standing for the 200 year celebration.

 

Galveston 127 

A Queen Anne styled Victorian home.   Notice the large State of Texas historical marker outside this home.  It also bears the "Survivor of the 1900 Great Storm" plaque, visible to the left of the front door, along with two Galveston Historical Foundation plaques visible to the right of the front door.  And just to be safe, a flag of the United States flies!  Hey, why no Lone Star State of Texas flag?????

 

Galveston 129

This wonderful home from the Victorian age is also a storm survivor.  It has been painted to highlight its impressive trim.

 

Galveston 135

This large home is wider than most in the Historical Districts.  The lacy "gingerbread" trim above the columns gives this house a feminine quality to it.

Galveston 139

While the Historical Districts have many homes that have been revitalized, some still remain left to do.  Here is an example of what these homes look like before their makeover.   The Galveston Historical Foundation maintains a warehouse full of authentic building supplies, available for use only by owners in the districts.

Galveston 142

This yellow painted Greek Revival home, with its charming picket fence, has a lush yard full of palm trees and birds of paradise plants. 

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This Greek Revival home is a survivor of the storm, it's plaque is plainly visible to the left of the front door.  Notice how the porch ceilings are painted blue - a southern tradition said to discourage wasp nests. 

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This blue beauty is still undergoing transformation.  Its widow's walk is being rebuilt on the roof.  Notice the delightful scalloped trim under the window tops.

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A Gothic Revival brought back to life.  The center arch is typical of Gothic Revivals.

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A rare three story Romanesque home, with its large covered front porch.

 

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These two Victorian painted ladies seem like twins! 

Galveston 109

Not all homes in the district are tall two stories, here a Victorian cottage Survivor hides between its towering twin crepe myrtles.

 

          Galveston 136 

A beautiful cream colored  Greek Revival - ready for the elections!  This is one of my favorites - its so simple, yet elegant!  Notice the matching lanterns on the top and bottom porches.

Galveston 145

A large, Queen Anne - patiently waiting it's turn.  It looks like a haunted house right now!

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The Historical District has small corner stores - some revitalized for the Yuppies, some still open for their long time clients.

 

Galveston 143

This corner restaurant from 1916, is a definite hot spot for district people and vacationers, alike.

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A block or two from the homes, stores and coffeehouses line the streets.

 

Galveston 155 

Painted pink with a picket fence:  small town living at its best!

Galveston 158

An 1881  Queen Anne, looking for an owner.  By next summer, this house should be in its fully restored glory.

 

 

An inside look at the above house.  Stripped to the studs, work on the house has stopped until a new owner can be found.  Look at this gorgeous staircase set within an arched passageway.

 

An extra wide home in the Historical District for sale. 

The interior of the above house:  many owners of these Victorian era homes choose to decorate using Victorian furniture, my absolute least favorite style of design!!!  Here, in this beautifully scaled room, antique Victorian furniture has been used. 

The Master Bedroom:  ouch!

 

 

This Survivor, built in 1883, is called The Adolph Frenkel home and is on the market for sale.

 

 

Inside the Adolph Frenkel home, the center hall boasts the original tile floors - gorgeous!

 

 

This 1867 survivor on Postoffice Street is also for sale.

 

Again, authentic Victorian furniture fills the home.  Does anyone reading this actually like Victorian furniture?  If so, explain why in the Comments Section.   I'm open to listen and learn!

 

Another Victorian era home for sale on Galveston Island.

The large hallway with gleaming, polished hardwoods.   Notice the front door's side windows. 

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This smaller Victorian cottage is a Survivor for sale.  Long, narrow lots result in skinny homes built close together.  These homes are just a little too close for comfort!

Finally!  Someone who designed their interiors for today - not for Victorian times.   Fresh and beachy looking, perfect for a house that is only a few blocks from the Gulf of Mexico.

 

The renowned Houston architect and interior designer Ed Eubanks has a second home in the East End National Historical District.      Eubanks has an obvious love for the Island and has built and remodeled several homes in Galveston.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 

No lover of Victorian furniture, Eubanks decorated his home in an eclectic style.  Look at the gorgeous and unique turtle on the wall!    It was caught in South Texas by Eubank's grandfather.

 

These photos are from Eubank's web site which were taken from a 2003 article written by Paper City's Laurann Claridge.

 

 

A view up the beautifully curving walnut staircase and into the dining room with it's bright blue curtains.

 

The living room:  Eubanks is an obvious lover of clutter!    A man after my own heart.  I love the scale of the antique mirror! 

          

The dining room with its gorgeous crystal chandelier which Eubanks de-electrified himself.  Notice the unusual marble fireplace mantel.

 

 The Eubank's kitchen with a large eat in area.  The round marble topped table was a gift and the cabinets came from a John Staub designed home that Eubanks is restoring.

The 1898 Josphine Drouet house in the process of being relocated is driven down Seawall Boulevard!  The sign say "Preservation at Work!"

 

If you plan to visit Galveston, you have a choice of hotel rooms,  high rise condominiums, beach houses, or houses in the Historical Districts to rent during your stay.  There is also a fair number of bed and breakfasts on the Island.   When visiting the island, there is plenty to do besides sitting on the beach with its cooling breezes.     Be sure to take time to visit the architectural sites such as Ashton Villa, The Bishop's Palace, and see the Strand, the revitalized  Portside shopping district.   Or, if you are like me, just take a stroll up and down the narrow streets of the Historical Districts and soak up the small town atmosphere so beautifully preserved on  Galveston Island.

73 comments:

  1. Joni... thanks for the introduction to Galveston. I had no idea about this city, except I did know a little about the big storm. I hope this next hurricane slows down before it reaches the coast.

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  2. Great piece! As a Galvestonian and volunteer for the Galveston Historical Foundation, I can share in the excitement of seeing these beautiful homes return to their splendor. However, I can tell you that GHF gets a bit too much credit when it comes to the beautification of homes in the East End (aka Historical District). The majority of the homes that are being bought and re-done are through no help whatsoever from the GHF. Further, the Strand area owes it's due not to GHF but to George & Cynthia Mitchell, philanthropists and energy magnate extraordinaires who wanted to bring Galveston back to it's colorful past.

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  3. Anonymous- hi! do you always read my blog -or was it a google alert hit? just curious!! thanks for this information= you know I forgot to talk about the Mitchells, you are so right about their involvement. I tried to do the research but all I kept getting was info about the GHF!!! go figure!!!! thanks again for the comment, it will make a nice addendum to the post.

    Joni

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  4. In re the above: I always read your blog posts!Love it! I am gonna start a blog of my own soon covering interiors and faves of mine as soon as I can figure out how to do it as I am not the most tech savvy person around here.

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  5. Oh boy...now the song is stuck in my head.

    What a beautiful and elegant city.I liked Anon's input as well! Hoping this current storm system misses it altogether!

    Your posts are amazingly thorough...Always feel like I could use some popcorn to settle right in!

    Thanks for the history!!

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  6. I grew up with the Tom Rush song in the sixties and knew only a little bit about the history of Galveston. Thanks for such a thorough job of fleshing out the story and the generous group of photos. And thanks for the blue porch roof tidbit. I am going to share it with friends who need this particular piece of advice. And lastly, who would've thought a pink house could be so subtle and sophisticated?

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  7. Hi - Anon- wait until my next post - you are really going to like it I think!!!! hehe

    Ms Wis: Actually that's a Jimmy Webb song, sung by Glenn Campbell, not sure if Tom Rush sang it?

    Linda: we couldn't go to Padre because of the hurricane and then we come here instead, this is getting ridiculous - someone doesn't want me at the beach this summer.

    thanks for all the great comments!
    Joni

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  8. I completely agree with anon about George & Cynthia Mitchell

    Thought you would all like to see some more photos of the Great Galveston Flood, including one of how they pumped dredged sand in up to fifteen feet to raise the island. They believe it was a category 5.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevboy/sets/72157600859836518/

    Joni, this was a post after my own heart. I dearly love our little coastal jewel (sometimes in the rough, but always a jewel)

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  9. Some very pretty homes there.. and very historical.. lovely!

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  10. Joni this post was charming. I think Galveston is beautiful! Hope the current storm passes you by. you must be a storm magnet this year. :) Stay safe. Can't wait for the next post.

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  11. Joni, the shear magnitude of your posts is so impressive. You really do your homework! I really enjoyed this post as I have been intrigued (and a little spooked) by the Victorian beauties in Galveston since I was a child. They are so grand.

    I couldn't agree with you more in regards to Victorian furniture. Ick! I can't stand it. It's refreshing to see a a historic home that maintains the original integrity of the home, but is designed with the modern family in mind.

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  12. I love your blog! It was such a nice surprise to pull it up tonight and see the post on Galveston architecture. I, too, am in Galveston this week--we rent the same beach house each summer on the West End (filled, suprisingly enough, with wonderful antiques!)--Hopefully, the threat of Eduard won't ruin our time here!Keep up the great work. You are doing an amazing job!

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  13. Anon 11:37 - email me !! I'm curious as to the name of the beach house you rent!!! I've never seen one with antiques before - they aren't Victorian, are they? Hahahah!!!

    Joni
    mrballbox329@aol.com

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  14. Have always liked the idea of Galveston (probably because of the song). Now, I love the idea (and the look)!

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  15. Lovely post and thanks for the tour.
    Great when cities preserve their history.
    Maybe some day I'll find my way there.
    Have a great day!

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  16. Great post! Nice to hear about preservation no matter who is doing it! My fav is the greek revival style! Nice intro to Galveston too!

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  17. Joni, I couldn't agree more about the Victorian furniture (sorry to those who love it). I know it might fit the style of the house but there is just something wrong with the ornate and gilt and velvet. When at a beach house, especially, you need soft, comfortable, lounging furniture.
    Thanks for the post, have a great visit in Galveston.
    MB

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  18. MUSICAL CLARIFICATION: Perhaps we are thinking of different songs. I am thinking (hearing in my head, actually) the song called "Galveston Flood." The songwriters are John Duffy and Tom Rush. It is on Tom's album "Take a Little Walk with Me" on Elektra records, recorded in 1966. You can read the lyrics and hear a sample here:
    http://music.yahoo.com/Tom-Rush/Galveston-Flood/lyrics/18832873

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  19. Joni -- this is so interesting b/c it seems most beach communities up and down the East coast have lost their older homes. I LOVE the Greek Revivals, and like you, Victorian interiors are not my fave :)

    Thanks again for comparing my living room to Julia Reed's! Made my day.

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  20. What a great tour of Gavelston! Thanks for giving m a peak of a place I might never have visited :)
    Very pretty...

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  21. Great photos, Joni, of these old artchitectural beauties. I love to see the Historical districts of any of our great cities & these are gorgeous. I don't care for Victorian furniture either, way too fru-fru for me, but I know some love it. Wonderful pics!

    Rhoda

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  22. Thanks for such a great post AGAIN Joni! :) Those historic houses were so much fun to look at (as well as learning a bit about the history and the storm- which I didn't know about before) A weekend trip to Galveston isn't such a bad idea....

    Emily

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  23. I'm not a fan of Victorian furnishings either, Joni. Too "heavy" for me. These homes are lovely. It makes my heart sing, to see old homes restored.

    I'd love to visit Galveston, in person.

    When I saw the post title, I had the same reaction as Linda. The song is in my head, for the day!

    Thanks again for your research and wonderful posts!
    Pat

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  24. Thanks for the tour of Galveston. The song is playing in my head!

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  25. I love these old houses, especially the Greek revival one with the lush front yard. I like houses that reveal themselves slowly rather than those that sit at the back of a great (boring) expanse of lawn saying"look at grand old me!" Sad about the old ones waiting for renovation though. Unfortunately, they demand a great deal of time, care and oodles of money . When we bought La Liberté, our French house,(see my blog) I was adamant that I would nix the "charming old crumbling place that could be had for a song" because I was not rich enough to buy a adorable fixer-up! As it was, we were lucky and got a big old village house in great shape for well, not one song but just two!
    In more than 4 decades in the US , I have only ever changed planes in Dallas but your blog keeps telling me I should perhaps give it a better look!

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  26. Thank you for such a great blog about Galveston! We love it and are so proud to be part-time residents : enjoying the Strand, great restaurants, fishing and beaches! Galveston is such a little gem...a beautiful little secret!

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  27. As an owner of an 1894 Queen Anne Victorian house (in New Jersey, not Texas!) I love seeing these houses. I am so used to seeing Victorians in a Northeastern setting, it is interesting to see them in a much warmer clime, and the greater use of shutters and second story porches than we see in our homes here (although the house next door to mine has a second story porch, of which my kids are very envious, despite our expansive wrap-around). I live in a historic district filled with an eclectic mix of Victorians, Tudor Revivals, Colonial Revivals, etc.

    I, too, hate Victorian furniture, and I don't understand the appeal. But I find that whenever I find a website dedicated to the restoration and/or preservation of Victorian homes, most of the folks participating think it is some kind of sacrilege to decorate with anything that would not have been around in 1888. Yuck! I respect my house, but it is a home, not a museum.

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  28. Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I grew up in Galveston county (now live in Fredericksburg). And I spent every mother's day weekend (until I graduated from college) celebrating the day with my Mom touring those wonderful homes on the Galveston Historic Home Tour. I'm sure they still do the tour - which is one on the best run events ever!

    I now have a restored Folk Victorian home (I guess I caught the "restoration bug" on one of those tours) full of antiques that my mother and grandmother bought in Galveston-- I can remember the smell of those musty old houses (pre-restoration) that housed more antiques than you can imagine.

    I visit you blog often--- and LOVE it!

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  29. It's so nice to see all those beautiful homes being preserved. I love your blog, you always have such wonderful photos and are always so informative.

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  30. I love this piece! I believe Galveston is one of America's most underrated cities. Most people don't realize what a treasure it is!

    I am from Texas and your blog makes me happy because it reminds me of how beautiful the Lone Star State really is! In fact, it is your blog that inspired me to create my own! Thank you!

    Nancy

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  31. I just love Galveston! When I see such beauty in disrepair I always want to just pick up a bruch and paint some love on those sadly neglected homes and restore them to their former beauty.

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  32. Joni,

    What a great post about Galveston. My parents intended to open a business in Galveston (moving from Ohio) b/c they wanted to be on the coast in the early 80's. However, given the state of the city at the time, they looked elsewhere for their business. I fell in love with all the old houses and I am so glad to see the revitalization of those beautiful homes.

    Too bad about the new tropical storm. Only positive is we all need the rain in Texas.

    Thanks for representing the great state of Texas so admirably! We so often get picked on by the media. I might be a carpetbagger, but, I love my adopted state!

    Andria

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  33. Lost in Vero Beach = I'm glad you enjoyed in!!!

    Jeannie: I agree about the Victorian but I was probably too harsh as I'm sure some readers have it!!! But like I said, I'm open to listen.

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  34. SENDING GOOD THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS TO TEXAS, HOPEFULLY IT WILL BE A STORM. ALL THE BEST 3HEARTS/MIAMI

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  35. Joni,

    Loved the tour...I've been pining over huge southern porches and joggling boards for the last few weeks (Carolina fellow)and meandering through the myrtles, palmettos and oaks surrounding those old homes was refreshing.

    The Eubanks room proves Clutter is cool. Who can resist an overwhelming amount of out-of-the-ordinary things? The more the merrier!

    Alex

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  36. lovely! I especially love the blue porch ceilings, it is my favorite Southern tradition.

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  37. Hi Joni~
    Interesting post - I have a friend who was ransferred to Galveston, but I've never been there. I definitely have to agree with you about Victoriana - not fond of it. Too heavy, dark and Adams Family-ish for me. Hope you have a fantastic week!

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  38. OMG it's like New Orleans at the beach! How much does the average old house go for? Like I need another house in another hurricane magnet LOL! Seriously, it's so much like NOLA and Key West. Just lovely.
    About Victorian decor - it's not all bad LOL. Think English Country. Yes when anything gets piled on, it gets to be too much. And yes some Victorian furniture can be heavy. But think about Victorian wicker, or one perfect balloon back chair with an updated fabric on the seat. Victorians loved color and pattern and specimen collecting and plants and flowers, and China and knick knacks - all good stuff! The problem is that they jam packed ALL of it into one space!
    Before I lived in NOLA, I lived in NYC, where the Brownstone is a classic Victorian house. The scale of things from this era looked good in a Brownstone. However, I don't care for a line by line reading of any period furniture. Period. LOL.

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  39. Having never been to Galveston, I so enjoyed this tour. How wonderful that so many grand places survived the great storm. And what a enjoyable challenge it would be to "rescue" one today.

    I especially loved the tiled entry in the Frenkel home... and the wonderful eclectic style of the one belonging to Mr. Eubanks.

    Enjoyable and educational post as always! Thank you!

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  40. I think Eubanks gets it right. Not too modern, but a believable lived in look. I've stayed at a few very old houses on the beach in New England and since they're still in the original family, they've acquired that layered look, not all one period. About victorian; american victorian is pretty heavy, although I believe wicker chairs were around then, but there are lots of indian pieces, or french pieces of the same vintage that I love. These houses, restored, are a revelation about victorian architecture. And the gardens and old trees really add to the character. I'd read the book about the hurricane, but never realized how beautiful the city is/was.

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  41. Hi Joni!

    I got to visit Galveston a long time ago during my first year at design school (at LSU). My best friend then that I met at LSU was dating one of the managers of an historic hotel on the island (can't remember the name)and I visited her there. Somehow I completely missed most of this beautiful historic district! So thank you! It is so beautiful. We have alot of Victorians in Sacramento too. (I keep meaning to do a drive-by post!)

    I have to agree with you about the furniture. Not my thing. But I could see an old Victorian chiar covered in white linen as a stand alone "sculptural" peice amongst more current things. That is about the extent of it. But I do agree with Visual Vamp...some of the stuff in moderation is great!

    Fantastic read as usual!!!!!!

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  42. Hi, I'm so excited to see you've posting a wonderful tribute to our old ladies in Galveston. I live right here on the island and have for the past twelve years. I don't live in one of the old Victorian ladies, though. My favorite time of the year is the Historic Society's Spring Homes Tour! I've been in so many of the homes you've shown on your post. If you haven't been on this tour, please come this next May and enjoy the beautiful homes tour with us. We also have a smaller tour the first weekend in December on Friday night before the Saturday that kicks off Dickens on the Strand. I'm sure you're aware of this. Now I don't especially care for all things Victorian (furniture) but a few pieces are very interesting used in rooms. I really do like the crystal and china of that era. I guess I love the fact they belonged to a family and are filled with memories, but I will never know what they are!? I live in a neighborhood with older homes built in the 30s and 40s. Ours being the newest kid on the block - built in 1970. Well, now that I've written you a short story I'll hush up! Pray the storm will not be very severe!
    Thanks again and be a sweetie,
    Shelia :)

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  43. Joni,
    The photos have been fixed.
    Sorry!
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kevboy/sets/72157600859836518

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  44. Hi Joni! It is such a pleasure to read your post! I have only visited relatives in Dallas for a few days at a time and had no idea such varied beauty existed in your State. I unfortunately thought Texas and thought cattle land/cowboys - not that that can't be beautiful. Thanks for showing us some of its gems, such as Huston and Galveston and for the amazing amount of effort you clearly put into your posts. I can speak for many it is really appreciated. As far as the victorian furnishing comment, I really had to laugh. Even though I truly appreciate the victorian architecture, the furnishing truly make my skin crawl! Sorry to those lovers of it. I just can't handle how dark, heavy, busy and ornate it is.
    Galveston - we'll keep our fingers crossed that this current storm goes easy on you!

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  45. My husband and I used to drive down from Arlington (TX) with our two young sons for spring break during the '90s. Most years it was too cold to sunbathe, but we four always had the best times driving around looking at the lovely homes, walking that strip with the nice shops (and the old-fashioned ice cream place and the life-sized chess board), eating po boy sandwiches and lots of shrimp, taking lazy afternoon naps.

    Once, in 1989, we went with our two year old before his brother was born, and we will never forget how excited he was with the "choo-choo" museum. Afterward, he fell asleep in his car seat and we parked by the sea wall and read (we are big readers) for several hours during a driving rain storm. One of our favorite memories, still.

    Thanks, Joni, for your post (wonderful as usual).

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  46. I had no idea the homes in Galveston were so amazing-just gorgeous. Talk about a renovating dream. Thanks for sharing! Catherine

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  47. I LOVE LOVE LOVE older historic homes. One day my dream would be to buy one and fix it up - maybe one of the ones you pictured??? (Maybe after I win the lottery??)

    I think it's so sad sometimes when charming older ( & architecturally significant) homes are razed for the sake of "progress". It makes me so sad, but it's so prevalent up here in Dallas too.

    Thanks for the visual tour! It's been a while since I've been down there, but I remember the areas being so pretty, and the Strand being really nice. My uncle has lived down there for years. I'll have to go visit!

    By the way - I am also not a huge fan of Victoriana. I find it heavy, dark, and a little depressing. What I don't mind is taking a piece or two of the furniture - like a great chair - and re-upholstering it in a more modern fabric and using it in an eclectic room. I think that can be interesting, because then the chair shape is put on display.
    Also - I happen to love the cozy little cottages, even the ones that are super close to each other. Very charming, and a great way to meet your neighbors. I guess I'm not that far removed from apartment dwelling, so it doesn't bother me so much.

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  48. Hi Joni:
    I loved your post & as you are perhaps aware of I lived in charleston, SC & I am a huge fan old historical towns and cities. Also, I wanted to see if you would like to play tag! I know you are very busy but wanted to tag you anyway!

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  49. Joni - you sure do know how to take a girl's breath away!! Had no idea about the hurricane... but boy did some amazing home stick around!
    Thanks for the tour.
    Karla & Karrie

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  50. Hello! I'm new to your site, and am enthralled! How nice to see a story about Galveston homes today.

    I grew up in Arlington and our yearly summer vacation was to Galveston. Now my husband and I are continuing that tradition with our daughter. We have seriously considered trying to relocate there someday! I adore the city, and am so thrilled to see it getting the love and attention it deserves.

    I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog, thank you for sharing!

    (PS: I live in Weatherford now).

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  51. Back in my disco childhood I was in art school. Many was the day I spent in Galveston with my camera, sketch pad, and watercolors.

    Back in the 80's there were more derelict homes than not. I was smitten, and still am. It's so good to see my old haunts coming into their own.

    Through the years I've had a mid-century modern decor...because it was cheap and plentiful. Then I moved to Cape Town and did the whole "Out Of Africa"/ Gentleman on A Safari/ British Colonial theme.

    After that, I moved back to Houston to a stately old Victorian in what was then a war zone in downtown before it became "hip".

    You have to have respect for the house you're in....so yes, there's a time and a place for Victorian furniture.

    These grand old ladies deserve a graceful and respecting touch.

    My current home is a 1927 "Storybook Chateau" in the midwest. French has never been my "bag", but you better believe this old lady whispers in my ear..."Fautiele....Bergere....Louis XVI...." It's hard not to listen.

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  52. I always look forward to your new posts, I think your blog is somehow connected with my life! I am going to medical school at UTMB in 2 weeks, so I loved your Galveston entry. I absolutely agree about the Victorian furniture. Why would anyone want that in their beach house? Beach houses are supposed to be breezy and well.. beachy not full of heavy, musty, old furniture.

    My husband and I have a trip planned at Oscar de la Renta's hotel in the Dominican Republic this winter, your post was a great preview to what I have to look forward to after a semester of lots of hard work!

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  53. I wish there were more iron gates and ornate fences here in Canada. They give such history and class to an area. What a fabulous post Joni!

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  54. The historic homes in Galveston bring about a nostalgic feeling of a bygone era of calling cards, balls, white summer dresses and tea served from sterling pots. When I visit Galveston, I feel like I have been transported in to an Edith Wharton novel.

    I am on the same page with you about Victorian furniture, it is not my favorite. One of our good friends has a whole house hold of Victorian furniture that she inherited. For her, it reminds her of her grandparents,whom she adored, so her feelings are sentimental. Her grandparents taught her quite a bit about collecting, and I think this also adds to her love of all things Victorian.

    Although I adored my own precious grandmother, her 1970's gold shag carpet, pictures of conquistadors , and avocado green and gold flocked wallpaper do not hold the same allure.

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  55. It has been so long since I was in Galveston so I really enjoyed the tour. (We were stationed in Corpus Christi in the early 80s)
    Such beautiful homes...and no. I am m=not a fan of pure Victorian design either. I am however, a hge fan of the style of the Eubank's home! I love a home rich in delicious and fascinating things!
    Thank you again for such a sweet tour!

    Love,
    Sue

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  56. Absolutely Fabulous!!!
    xoxo,
    mary

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  57. What a great tour, Joni. Your tour has made me officially decide to add a Galveston historical home to my future Houston real estate holdings ;)

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  58. nice article....
    I want to know more about your article

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  59. Who knows if you'll even read this with it being so far down in the pages of your blog - but I love this home tour! And that turtle in the entry is just to die for! That's not something you'll EVER see again, and what a statement. I'm jealous, FOR SURE!

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  60. Hi! Just a quick comment to say thanks for this write up! I'm getting caught up on email, (having been out of town for a month) and saw this posting and was immediately transported back to my engagement weekend. 14 years ago my husband proposed to me in Galveston! I haven't thought of this quaint town in years, but today, after reading your blog I went downstairs kissed my husband passionately and when he asked what that was for, I responded, "Galveston"!
    Best,
    The Antiques Diva (TM)

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  61. prayers with everyone in Galveston -
    your website is one of my favourites! thank you.

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  62. Enjoyed the site. Guess what - I love Victorian architecture and furniture as well. I do agree, it can be rather heavy and often very cluttered. But...you say you like clutter a bit too. I am currently building a folk victorian farmhouse and we are using some period type accents - even a newel post lamp! I have to say that with 3 kids we need casual comfort as well, so we mix it all up. I think this helps you to appreciate the old and the new. Much more interesting that looking like you walked out of a new furiture store showroom with a complete display set. Also, using antiques is in my opinion "livin green" and the craftsmanship, well it can't be duplicated. Antiques seem to have a soul and I think that adds to a comforable atmosphere within a home.
    Again, I enjoyed the site!

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