In the footsteps of the past
Galveston opens doors to its picturesque past in cherished annual historic home tour
The doors to 10 historic homes will be wide open the next two weekends, as part of the 49th Annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour. The beloved event allows architecture lovers, history buffs, and those searching for home inspo to explore these privately owned houses, all built between 1890 to 1920.
Hosted by the Galveston Historical Foundation, the tour allows guests to step into the past and imagine what life on the Island was like when these homes were built. It's also an opportunity to see how the current owners have updated these beauties for our contemporary times, while staying true to their heritage.
“The annual historic homes tour features everything from recent large-scale residential restorations to small livable coastal cottages,” said Dwayne Jones, executive director of the Galveston Historical Foundation in a press release announcing the event. “We are bringing some of the finest examples of historic island properties to tour."
Home tour tickets are $50 per person and allow guests to tour the homes between 10 am and 6 pm on May 6, May 7, May 13, and May 14. Tickets are good for both weekend, but guests may not tour a home twice. Tour participants may start at any home on the tour.
The tour is self-guided and there's a map guests can use to determine their preferred route. Among the homes featured are:
Built in 1890 for Liberty and Annie McKinney, this Victorian is among the most-detailed in Galveston's East End. Its decorative elements include undulating arches and mariner's wheel motifs. The Galveston Historical Foundation purchased the home in 2011 to save it from demolition, following a devastating 1993 fire and years of decay. The current owner recently completed renovations on the property.
George Bendixen Corner Store and Residence
3128 Avenue L
Dating to 1892 and built by German immigrant George Bendixen, the property was recently renovated for living purposes. The original store would serve the surrounding neighborhood for close to 80 years. The current owner worked to create an interior that would complement the home's history.
Edmund and Lorena Toebelman House
1113 Church Street
Real estate agent Edmund Toebelman and his wife contracted German carpenter Henry Rabe to bring this Victorian masterpiece to life in 1905. It's elevated seven feet above the street and a prime example of the architecture of its day, with an inset front porch supported by smooth Ionic columns and original interior millwork.
Joseph and Edith Eiband House
Built in 1928, this is the "newest" home on the tour and was designed by architect Raymond Rapp, Sr. The home belonged to Joseph Eiband, who was the general manager of Eiband’s Department Store, founded by his father in 1895 and once the largest privately owned retailer in the county. The home sits on the first paved roadway to Houston.
There are several other events of interest during both weekends of the tour. The May 6 Silk Stocking Tour and Wine Tasting is a block party-style festival where guests can enjoy a self-guided tour of the homes, along with a special wine tasting for $60. On Mother's Day, May 14, there's the Mother's Day Champagne Brunch in the 1880 Garten Verein, which includes brunch, a special gift, Mother's Day corsage, live music, and more. Reservations are $85 without a Homes Tour ticket or $95 with a ticket. There are also special dinners, lectures, and other opportunities to engage with Galveston's rich history. Learn more and buy tickets online.