Galveston Historical Foundation Launches Virtual Historic Home Tour

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Need something to break up the boredom? Why not take a tour of Galveston’s most historic homes! That’s right, the Galveston Historical Foundation’s (GHF) Annual Historic Homes Tour is still on, despite the pandemic. And this year it’s virtual!

The best part? The tour will have exceptional haunts you can enjoy right from your laptop, including intimate walkthroughs, fun lectures, and special presentations by historians and architecture buffs alike.

Get An Intimate Look At The Most Storied Homes In Galveston

In fact, one of the most fascinating homes on the tour is the Jacob and Sallie Sonnenthiel house. It’s located at the corner of 19th Street and Sealy and is one of the city’s premier landmark buildings.

“The exuberant design of the Victorian era house exhibits influences from Eastlake, Gothic, and Italianate architecture styles,” says GHF. And the story behind the Galveston home is equally fascinating.

The Sonnenthiel House Rose From The Ashes And Is A Galveston Treasure

According to GHF, “After the Sonnenthiel home was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1885 that decimated over 40 city blocks, Sonnenthiel bought the lot on the northeast corner of 19th Street and Sealy and from the ashes of the great fire, had this magnificent residence built.

The house was noted by architect and author Howard Barnstone in his book, The Galveston That Was, and described as having been “planned from the inside out,” meaning the interior spaces were planned prior to the exterior design.

Although that architect has never been identified, and the plans for the house were not signed, some sources attribute the design to Nicholas Clayton based on certain stylistic elements common in Clayton’s work, yet no definitive proof to link the house to Clayton has ever been found. The house was completed by January 1, 1888, when local newspapers reported the cost to be $14,000.

Galveston’s Virtual Historic Home Tour Kicks Off May 9th

Of course, there are other historic Galveston homes on tour to draw you in. The Moody House at 5115 Avenue T and the McKinney-McDonald House at 928 Winnie will also be on display.

And the fun is in the details! You’ll be able to peek inside the homes from many vantage points where periods accents abound, like the original wallpaper from The Moody House pictured here.

“This is just one more way to experience these homes and we look forward to your support and the opportunity to share our great buildings and history,” adds Dwayne Jones, Galveston Historical Foundation’s Executive Director.

Be sure to tune in Saturday, May 9 from 1 to 5 p.m. The GHF will welcome online visitors for a special virtual edition of the annual event held at and

Check Out The Schedule Of Events

Lastly, don’t forget to check out the schedule of events! The Galveston Historic Foundation has a fantastic line up for you to immerse yourself in the stories behind the city’s most historic homes. If only walls could talk!

  • 1:00 – 1:30 PM: Tour of the McKinney-McDonald House, built in 1890
  • 1:30 – 2:15 PM: Galveston Architecture lecture by GHF Executive Director, Dwayne Jones
  • 2:15 – 2:45 PM: Tour of the William and Mary Margaret Moody III House, built in 1938
  • 2:45 – 3:30 PM: Stephen Fox Lecture on the architecture of John Staub
  • 3:30 – 4:00 PM: Tour of the Charles and Estelle Miller House, built in 1899
  • 4:00 – 4:30 PM: Presentation by Plein Air Southwest 
  • 4:30 – 5:00 PM: Tour of the James and Louise DeForest House, built in 1883

Will you take the tour? If you do, be sure to let us know whch is your favorite in the comments. Happy touring!