A fascinating aspect of Galveston, Texas is the commercial architecture in the Strand Historic District. For much of the 19th century, Galveston was a bustling hub of commerce as a port city on the Gulf of Mexico. The thriving businesses required impressive structures to house their wares and operations, as well as to portray their success. The architects of the time designed buildings that were both functional and works of art. This article shows a few examples of the buildings’ ornate facades, intricate ironwork, and towering columns that are a testament to the craftsmanship and artistry of their time.
A Bit Of Background about Galveston
The Strand Historic District of Galveston refers to the south side of Avenue A (Harborside Drive), plus both sides of Avenue B (Strand) and Avenue C (Mechanic Street) from 20th Street to 26th Street. Visitors can witness examples of almost every notable historic architectural style, from Greek Revival and Victorian to Gothic and Romanesque. These buildings are reminders of Galveston’s commercial significance during the period.
After the American Civil War, Galveston was a vibrant place for finance, import/export, and immigration. For a time, the Strand was even called the “Wall Street of the South”. Further, the Port of Galveston was one of the busiest in the country and served an essential role in the United States’ westward expansion. Galveston’s success continued until the infamous hurricane of September 1900, known locally as The Great Storm. The hurricane killed thousands and destroyed the city. The Strand steadily deteriorated in the decades following the storm. Finally, in the 1970-80s, investors in the community created the Strand Historic District as a vehicle for revitalizing the area.
The Strand Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970 and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1976 for its unparalleled collection of commercial Victorian architecture in Texas and its role as the state’s major port in the 19th century.
Examples of Architecture in the Strand Historic District
Photographer Jeff Kauffman portrays some of Galveston’s historical architecture in this series of photographs.
Jeff Kauffman is an art photographer in Austin, Texas USA. His work has appeared worldwide in publications, art festivals, and commercial venues. Selected works are available for purchase from Jeff’s online art store as well as these fine-art and image licensing outlets.
- Limited Edition, signed original prints: Saatchi Art
- Publication and Stock Photography: Arcangel Images | Alamy
- Art for Corporate, Hospitality, and Interior Design projects: IndieWalls | Nine Dot Arts | Turning Art