Friday, March 28, 2014

Galveston's Silk Stocking District

Since we certainly fit the role of visitors to Galveston Island, the words of Sara G. Stephens served as a special message:

"It’s a personal pet peeve of mine when people announce they’re going to Galveston, when all they really mean is they’re going to the beach. As a devout Galveston Island visitor, this common verbal gaffe grates my editorially sensitive skin, because the tapestry of Galveston is woven with so many colorful experiences beyond the beach—offering sights, sounds, sensations, education, and culture that dip deep inland and extend far outland. Houstonians who trek an hour to the beach can enjoy exponentially higher returns on their efforts by tapping into some of the lesser-known destinations that await them--somewhere off the well-beaten path between seawall and sand.

"Silk Stocking District: Strolling the streets of the Silk Stocking District carries you into the movie set of an epic period piece. An irresistible collection of historic homes built from the Civil War through World War II, this pocket of Galveston rests between 25th Street (west), 23rd Street (east), Avenue P (south), and Avenue K (north). Each home has a story as provocative as the house is breathtaking.

"Among the residences are several former brothels and a former retirement home for women.
Renaissance Revival, c. 1895
Letitia Rosenberg Home for Aged Women

This home was built as a place to care for aged women who could not properly care for themselves. It operated in this structure until 1970.
"One home became the Rosenberg library. If nothing inspires you more than a beautiful manifestation of Queen Anne-style architecture, the Silk Stocking District will make your day, your week, your year. You might even be inspired to buy one of the many similar, unrestored houses that tempt the imaginative eye only a few blocks away" (

In the course of our walk around the 416-home neighborhood, we saw many homes that inspired us--but the inspiration was directed to taking photographs, not talking to realtors.

The Self-Guided Walking Tour of The Silk Stocking National Historic District provided us with some limited information about the architectural style of the homes on the tour.
Colonial Revival, c. 1925

Home with vernacular gable front, c. 1908

Mediterranean, c. 1924

Classical Revival, c. 1910

Queen Anne, c. 1889

Queen Anne, c. 1892

Prairie School, c. 1914

Mission Revival, c. 1925

Queen Anne, c. 1899

Queen Anne, c. 1899

Queen Anne, c. 1899

Queen Anne, c. 1899

Queen Anne, c. 1903

Queen Anne, c. 1899

Classic Revival, c. 1914

Greek Revival, c. 1850

Vernacular gable front, c. 1908

Before we began our walking tour, we talked to the folks in the Visitor Center about taking photos of the homes on the tour. They assured us that the residents were pleased to have people interested in photographing their historic homes.

At this home on 24th Street, we met the owner who also was a previous President of the neighborhood homeowners association (maybe The Silk Stocking National Historic District Neighborhood Association). He was working on his bed of rose bushes.
Vernacular gable front, c. 1908

He was quite knowledgeable about growing roses. I learned that garlic planted in the rose bed exudes a biochemical that is a repellent to aphids, a common rose problem.

A pretty interesting start to our tour of the District.

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