Walking Tour of Historic Galveston
This short walking tour includes several downtown landmarks including museums, monuments, and historic buildings. More sites will be added to the tour soon.
In 1908, African American boxer Jack Johnson defeated Tommy Burns, the reigning heavyweight champion. The victory made Johnson the first African American to hold the title of heavyweight champion, an occurrence that upset millions of white Americans. Whites convinced former champion Jim Jeffries to come out of retirement and put the boastful Black boxer "in his place." Instead, Johnson humiliated Jeffries in the ring and proceeded to go out of his way to be photographed with white women-a social taboo that further infuriated millions of white men and women in the early 20th century. Despised by most whites in his own time, it took a century for his hometown of Galveston to name a park in his honor. Jack Johnson's statue and park was dedicated in 2012.
the Avenue L Missionary Baptist Church is one of the oldest African American churches in Texas, and is the oldest Baptist churches in Texas that grew from slave members og the First Baptist Church in 1840. its original organized under the name of "Colored Baptist Church", they became their own church by the early 1850s.
The Willis-Moody Mansion, also known as the Moody Mansion, is a fascinating 28,000 square-foot, four-story structure that was built in 1895. With approximately 31 rooms, this unique house was once owned by the Moody’s, part of the Texas elite. The Moody’s were once a family of cotton farmers and because of their wealth, they expanded their empire by creating banks, insurance companies, and hotels.
Ashton Villa was completed in 1859 and was nearly destroyed in 1970 as the manor had fallen into disrepair. The Galveston Historical Society launched a fundraising campaign that saved and restored the building, which is now home to the Galveston Island Visitor Information Center.
Reedy Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) is one of the most remarkable landmarks in African-American history. The Reedy Chapel African Methodist Church dates its origins back to 1848 when white owners gave the property to their slaves as place to worship freely. Until the structure was actually built, slaves worshiped outside. Reedy Chapel African Methodists Episcopal Church was one of the locations where General Order #3 was read which effectively ended slavery in Texas. As slavery ended, the church served as a school for freed former slaves. Throughout its history the church endured many hardships including The Great Fire and numerous hurricanes. In 1866 following the end of the Civil War the church became apart of the A.M.E. Church. The great fire destroyed the original church building in 1885. The storm of 1900 also caused significant damage to the structure. The Reedy Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church (AMEC) stands as one of the prominent fixtures in African- American history. It stands as a symbol for freedom and liberation for Blacks in the state of Texas. The Reedy Chapel African Methodist Church is an important aspect of African- American history. The church is important because it's a representation of Black liberation. The General Order #3 was read at this location, which outlawed slavery in the state of Texas. The church served as a place where freed Blacks were given the opportunity to gain an education. Still in operation today, and holding regular services, the Church is an important aspect of African-American history. If you want a unique experience of African-America history come to the Reedy Chapel African Methodist Church.
This Historical Marker tells of a Confederate Mariner by the name of Leon Smith and his time spent during the Civil War. Not only that but it tells of his life before the Civil war though not at length. What follows is directly from the Marker itself and can be found on the marker at location.
The Strand Historic District, located on Strand Street in Galveston Texas, is home to one of the city’s major commercial areas from the late nineteenth century. Built in the 1800s, many of the buildings were heavily influenced by Victorian architectural designs, which helps them stand out in an area of modern advances. Most of the buildings have weathered the 1900 Galveston hurricane (revered as the deadliest natural disaster in American history) to thrive as the financial hub of not just Galveston but also the Southwest, unfortunately, all great things come to an end. In the 1960s, an economic recession consequently led to a considerable amount of the historic buildings being torn down. Due to the generous amount of support and proceeds from the Mitchell family, the Strand was able to be restored to the beautiful and memorable shopping strip that is seen today.
Galveston's custom house was completed in 1861 after only 114 days of construction-a tremendous accomplishment in any era. The significance is even greater when one reflect upon the craftsmanship and durability as this is one of the only buildings to survive both the 1885 fire and the Great Storm of 1900. This building hosted a ceremony officially ending the Civil War in Texas in 1865-a ceremony that also signified the first occupation of federal officers in a building that was intended to be used by the federal government but home to the Confederate Army for the first four years of its existence.
The Hendley building is the oldest remaining commercial building in Galveston. Constructed by Joseph and William Hendley between 1858 and 1860, it was the site of important events during the Civil War. Although vacant for many years, the first floor of the building was restored thanks to joint efforts by preservationists and developers.
The Barque Elissa is one of the oldest ships still sailing in the world. Launched in 1877 she has been on the water for over 130 years and has served well the entire time. She spent 90 of those 130 years actively hauling cargo, until she was saved from being scrapped in Piraeus, Greece. After being restored and sailed to Galveston, Texas she began her current life as an active museum. She is a National Historic Landmark and the official Tall Ship of Texas. Today she still goes sailing and is maintained by a crew of dedicated volunteers who train on and sail her year round. She is also available for functions and parties and offers seamanship classes and other educational opportunities.