PHOTOS: Galveston opening its historic homes to the public 2 weekends in May

McKinney-McDonald House (1890) (Koby Brown, Koby Brown)

HOUSTON – Once a year in Galveston, privacy goes out the window as the owners of historic homes open their doors to visitors as part of an island-wide event.

The Galveston Historical Foundation is holding its 49th annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour on May 6, 7, 13 and 14 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Tickets are $45 for non-members before May 1, and $50 after, and are available online at Members of Galveston Historical Foundation can purchase specially priced $40 tickets.

“The annual historic homes tour features everything, from recent large-scale residential restorations to small, livable coastal cottages,” said Dwayne Jones, Galveston Historical Foundation’s executive director. “We are bringing some of the finest examples of historic island properties to tour. The 2023 tour is once again a great introduction to the island’s architecture for newcomers, as well as a familiar set of wonderful properties to those who have attended GHF’s homes tours for years.”

For more information on special events, go to

🏡 Participating homes and locations

Take a look at the homes that will be open for the tour:

McKinney-McDonald House (1890)

McKinney-McDonald House (1890) (Koby Brown)

In 1890, Liberty and Annie McKinney hired English contractor William Evans to build this commanding Victorian house. One of the most remarkably detailed houses in the East End Historic District, decorative elements of the ornate double gallery include gooseneck pendants, undulating arches, and mariner’s wheel motifs. Damaged by fire in 1993, Galveston Historical Foundation purchased the house in 2011 to save it from demolition. Featured on previous tours as a “restoration in progress,” the current owner recently completed rehabilitation of the prestigious property after purchasing it from Galveston Historical Foundation.

📍926 Winnie Street, Galveston, TX 77550 - See a pre-renovation real estate listing for this house.

Julius Lobenstein Tenant Cottage (1890)

Julius Lobenstein Tenant Cottage (1890) (Koby Brown)

Capitalist Julius Lobenstein built this side-gable Victorian cottage in 1890 for use as tenant property. Lobenstein was born in Germany and immigrated to New Braunfels, Texas, before he relocated to Galveston in 1846. Located in the Lost Bayou Historic District, the tenant cottage is one of several investment properties built by Lobenstein in the neighborhood.

📍1212 19th Street

George Bendixen Corner Store & Residence (1892)

George Bendixen Corner Store & Residence (1892) (Koby Brown)

German immigrant George Bendixen built this corner store with attached residential wing in 1892. The building served Old Central Neighborhood as a grocery for 76 years and is representative of a vernacular form identified as a square or rectangular building with a hipped roof and entries oriented toward the corner. Recently rehabilitated for residential purposes, the owner contracted with a designer for a modern interior complementary of the building’s architecture.

📍3128 Avenue L

Charles and Estelle Miller House (1899)

Charles and Estelle Miller House (1899) (Koby Brown)

Located in the Lost Bayou Historic District, Charles and Estelle Miller built this L-plan Victorian house in 1899 for use as their primary residence. GHF acquired the house after it was damaged by fire in 2018. Galveston Historical Foundation’s Revolving Fund, established in 1973 to save endangered buildings from demolition and stimulate revitalization of The Strand, supported the purchase and rehabilitation of the house that was acquired by the current owners in 2020.

📍1826 Avenue K - See a recent real estate listing for this house.

James and Mary Prindiville House (1901)

James and Mary Prindiville House (1901) (Koby Brown)

New Orleans native and plaster contractor James J. Prindiville built this gable-front Victorian cottage with inset porch in 1901. When completed, the property served as his office and family’s residence. Located blocks from the beach in the San Jacinto neighborhood, the house replaced their previous residence destroyed by the 1900 storm.

📍1127 Avenue M - See a recent real estate listing for this house.

Edmund and Lorena Toebelman House (1905)

Edmund and Lorena Toebelman House (1905) (Koby Brown)

In 1905, real estate agent Edmund Toebelman and his wife, Lorena, contracted with German carpenter Henry Rabe to build this Victorian house according to plans drawn by architect Donald McKenzie. Elevated seven feet on colossal concrete piers, the architectural massing of the East End Historic District house dominates the surrounding streetscape. Notable architectural features include an inset front porch supported by smooth Ionic columns and original interior millwork.

📍1113 Church Street - See a recent real estate listing for this property.

Joseph and Frances Gengler House (1905)

Joseph and Frances Gengler House (1905) (Koby Brown)

In 1904, Joseph Gengler married Frances Ellen Beaver and a year later, they contracted with William Janssen to build this high-raised Victorian cottage. Located on a corner lot in the San Jacinto Neighborhood, the L-plan house features a wraparound porch that takes advantage of breezes from the Gulf of Mexico located one block south.

📍2102 Avenue P

Nathan and Mary Spence House (1906)

Nathan and Mary Spence House (1906) (Koby Brown)

Nathaniel Spence, proprietor of the Texas Produce & Commission Company, and wife Mary Ann Topliffe, contracted with Galveston-born architect Donald McKenzie to build this somewhat restrained Victorian house in 1906. McKenzie designed a number of Galveston buildings in the early 20th century and is considered one of the city’s best 20th century architects.

📍1928 Avenue O - See a recent real estate listing of this property.

City National Bank Building (1920)

City National Bank Building (Galveston Historical Foundation)

Chicago architects Weary & Alford designed this neoclassical stone building to house William L. Moody Jr.’s City National Bank. Renamed Moody National Bank in 1953, the bank operated until 1962 and later housed a local museum. Galveston Historical Foundation acquired the building in 2020 and recently completed rehabilitation for residential use.

📍2219 Market Street

Joseph and Edith Eiband House (1928)

Joseph and Edith Eiband House (1928) (Koby Brown)

Architect Raymond Rapp Sr. designed this Colonial Revival brick house for Joseph and Edith Eiband. Eiband was employed as general manager of Eiband’s Department Store, founded by his father in 1895 and once the largest privately-owned retailer in the county. Located on Broadway, the Eiband House is one of the last residences constructed for a prominent family after the grand avenue was declared a state highway and first paved roadway to Houston.

📍3112 Broadway

🗺️ Map

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About the Author:

Briana Zamora-Nipper joined the KPRC 2 digital team in 2019. When she’s not hard at work in the KPRC 2 newsroom, you can find Bri drinking away her hard earned wages at JuiceLand, running around Hermann Park, listening to crime podcasts or ransacking the magazine stand at Barnes & Noble.