Galveston Historic District

Galveston Historic District

Galveston has seven historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places: the Strand Historic District; the East End Historic District; the Silk Stocking Residential Historic District; Cedar Lawn Historic District; Denver Court Historic District; Fort Travis; and The Settlement. Although impacted by Hurricane Ike in 2008, the historic districts have proven their tenacity and rebounded rapidly.

The Strand Historic District was 19thand early 20th-century Galveston’s center of commerce and finance and was called the “New York of Texas.” Its main street, the Strand, was known as the “Wall Street of the South.” Spanning 26 square blocks, the Strand Historic District is famous as one of this country’s largest and most well-preserved bastions of Victorian architecture. It is located on the bay side of the island near Galveston’s busy port where cargo and passenger ships crowd the harbor. High curbs, street-side canopies and horse drawn carriages are an integral part of the charm and romance found in The Strand District. A number of annual festivities are held here including Galveston’s popular Mardi Gras and the holiday season’s Dickens-on-the-Strand. It is home to one of the most famous opera houses in America, the Grand Opera House, completed in 1894 and a survivor of the great hurricane of 1900. The Strand Historic District is also a shopper’s paradise where more than 100 antique shops, art galleries and restaurants abound.

The East End Historic District offers fine examples of several periods of Victorian architecture beginning with the Greek Revival period of the 1850’s. Structures range from modest cottages to grand and opulent mansions. The district is thriving as a culturally and ethnically diverse neighborhood with fine schools and proximity to the business district, the University of Texas Medical Branch, and the Strand.

Silk stockings symbolize affluence, and by the end of World War II and the introduction of nylon, the association of silk stockings with wealth was firmly established in the language. Adjoining The Strand Historic District, the Silk Stocking Residential Historic District includes some of Galveston’s finest homes including the world-renown Ashton Villa.

The Cedar Lawn and Denver Harbor historic districts are Private Place neighborhoods founded in 1925.The finest architects, including Cameron Fairchild and Alfred C. Finn, designed homes in both areas. These vintage neighborhoods are flourishing with substantial renovation and updating of their classic early and middle 20th-century structures. The Settlement Historic District was founded in 1867 by freed slaves during Reconstruction after the Civil War, and Fort Travis, located on Galveston Island’s far east end, was built as a military outpost by the Republic of Texas in 1836.