Galveston’s East End Christmas Homes Tour
By Sara G. Stephens
“Here, the flickering of the blaze showed preparations for a cozy dinner, with hot plates baking through and through before the fire, and deep, red curtains, ready to be drawn to shut out cold and darkness. There, all the children of the house were running out into the snow to meet their married sisters, brothers, cousins, uncles, aunts, and be the first to greet them.”
Who among us has not longed to step into the humble home of Bob Cratchit and join in the sighs of awe as Mrs. Cratchit enters “flushed, but smiling proudly—with the pudding like a speckled cannon-ball so hard and firm blazing in half of a half-a-quartern of ignited brandy, and bedight with Christmas holly stuck into the top?” (A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens, 1843)
Indeed, no sight brings us to such certain verification that Christmas is upon us than that of a Victorian home, lovingly embellished to honor every tradition of the holiday.
Any spirit who seeks the warm kindling of such a Christmas season need only make his or her way to Galveston’s East End Historical District Assocation’s annual Christmas Home Tour, lovingly titled “A Victorian Christmas.” There, on December 5, some of the island’s finest Victorian homes will swing open their doors and beckon visitors in—to travel back in time to the charm-filled days of Christmas Past.
“A Victorian Christmas” Christmas Homes Tour
Galveston’s East End Historical District Association will host its 25th Annual “A Victorian Christmas” Homes Tour on Friday, December 5th, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.
The architecture of Galveston’s East End reflects some of the state’s most notable examples of residential Victorian architecture, with a variety of styles and periods. This year’s tour will feature four East End homes decorated for the holiday season.
The Isaac Heffron Home. Built in 1890 by Issac Heffron, this house has the original woodwork and long-leaf pine flooring, and an elaborate concrete balustrade along the front sidewalk line. After yellow fever and diphtheria outbreaks, Heffron was contracted to lay sewer pipes and build the Galveston Water Works to ensure fresh water.
The August J. Henck Cottage. Built in 1897 by real estate broker and builder Henck, this five-bay-wide cottage still has the original Victorian glass windows with beveled cut glass. Henck aided in floating bonds for Galveston’s seawall after the 1900 storm.
The Medard Menard Ganter House. Built by 1881, this double-dormered cottage was the home of Colonel Menard (Confederacy during the Civil War) from 1881 until his death in 1887. Shortly after 1900, Herbert Ganter, a local jeweler, purchased the house. His family owned it until 1973.
The George Wilson Home. Built in 1884, this two-story home was owned by George Wilson, a pilot, whose office was in the Hendley building on The Strand. The home passed to the DiPuccio family about 1920 and remained in that family until 1945.
Three complementary East End sites, each offering a variety of holiday music, also will be included on the tour: The Victor Gustafson Cottage, Darragh Park, and First Presbyterian Church.
Tickets, $15.00, are limited and are now available at The Grand 1894 Opera House, 2020 Postoffice St. (www.thegrand.com) or 800-821-1894. Guests may start the tour at any of the homes or at the EEHDA Cottage, 1501 Postoffice St., where refreshments and restroom will be available.