Saint Joseph’s Church

Saint Joseph’s Church is the tour’s headquarters this year.


GALVESTON — Galveston Historical Foundation’s Sacred Places Tour will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 8.

Tickets are $15 per person and available in advance at, Eighteen Seventy One, 2217 Strand, The Shop At The Palace, 1402 Broadway, the Architectural Salvage Warehouse, 2228 Broadway, or by calling 409-750-9108, Ext. 1305.

Historical foundation members can purchase tickets for $13. Pre-reserved group rates are available. Tickets can also be purchased on the day of at St. Joseph’s Church, 2202 Ave. K.

“Galveston’s Sacred Places are a significant part of our history. When you tour these great buildings you can learn the story of some of the lives of generations of Galvestonians,” said Executive Director Dwayne Jones. “This tour is a glimpse into our past and one that will broaden your idea of what living on the island is really like.”

The popular tour benefits the foundation’s ongoing restoration of St. Joseph’s Church, the oldest wooden church building in Galveston and the oldest German Catholic Church in Texas. A range of religious traditions and building styles will be featured, highlighting the island’s rich religious heritage while showcasing the range of Galveston’s sacred architecture.

Additionally, a special reception and tour will be from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the 1892 Bishop’s Palace, 1402 Broadway, showcasing the ongoing stained glass restoration, as well as a brief lecture on the Catholic Church’s involvement with the island landmark.

Tickets for the reception are $20 or $15 for individuals participating in the Sacred Places tour.

For information, contact Will Wright, 409-765-3404 or

On the tour

St. Joseph’s Church (Tour Headquarters)

2202 Avenue K

By the middle of the 19th century, Galveston Island was home to 2,000 to 3,000 German immigrants, almost half the total population. Bishop John Odin, the first Catholic bishop of Texas, recommended that a church be built for the German-speaking Catholics of the growing city. Built by German immigrants in 1859-60, the church was dedicated in April 1860 to St. Joseph, the patron saint of laborers.

Avenue L Missionary Baptist Church

2612 Ave. L

In 1840 Galveston’s newly formed First Baptist Church organized a church for its members’ slaves  called the Colored Baptist Church. In the 1850s, the church became known as the African Baptist Church and was housed in a building at 26th Street and Avenue L. In 1891 a new building arose on Avenue L, only to be badly damaged by the 1900 Storm. In 1916, the cornerstone was laid for the present building which was dedicated on Jan. 7, 1917.

Broadway Cemetery

(Headstone Cleaning Workshops)

Avenue K and 40th Street

In addition to the participating sacred places, two headstone cleaning demonstrations will be held at Galveston’s Broadway Cemetery. The sessions, led by Matthew Farragher, will train individuals on how to properly clean cemetery headstones and statues. Attendance is free with Sacred Places tour ticket and workshops will be at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Central Christian Church

2702 Ave. O½

Galveston’s Central Christian Church was founded in 1877. In 1893 the church was reorganized and a small brick church was erected at 20th Street and Avenue K and used for worship until it was sold in 1922. In 1926 a brick church building was built at 27th Street and Avenue O½. The fellowship hall, a former army barracks purchased after World War II, is still in use.

• Congregation Beth Jacob

2401 Ave. K  (Open for tours 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. only)

Beth Jacob’s roots date back to 1888 when a group of orthodox Russian Jews came together to form the Hebrew Orthodox Benevolent Association. Around the same time, a group of Orthodox Jews from the Austro-Hungarian Empire immigrated to Galveston and began looking for a synagogue to join. In an effort to unite the growing Orthodox community, on Feb. 15, 1931, the two Orthodox congregations voted to merge and form Congregation Beth Jacob, and $40,000 was raised to build a new two-story brick synagogue at Avenue K and 24th Street, on the site of the old Hebrew Orthodox Benevolent Association.

First Lutheran Church

2415 Winnie

By 1850, German immigrants made up almost half of the population of Galveston. The large number of Lutherans in this group necessitated the formation of a Lutheran Church. In 1854, First Lutheran made arrangements to hold its Sunday services in Lyceum Hall, at Winnie and Bath Avenue (25th Street). A year later, the church bought the Lyceum building and moved it to the present church property. This building has remained a part of the church and is the oldest of the buildings belonging to First Lutheran.

Grace Episcopal Church

1115 36th St.

Established as a Sunday school Mission of Trinity Episcopal Church in 1874, Grace became a parish in its own right two years later. Parishioners originally worshipped in a small frame building. The present Gothic limestone structure, designed by Nicholas J. Clayton, was erected in 1895.

Reedy Chapel African

Methodist Episcopal Church

2013 Broadway

In 1848, trustees of Galveston’s Methodist Episcopal Church South purchased property at Broadway and 20th Street for the purpose of establishing a church for their slaves. A church building and parsonage were erected and given to the slaves as the “Negro Methodist Episcopal Church South.” In 1866, the Negro Methodist Episcopal Church South was reorganized under the name Reedy Chapel.

Ursuline Chapel at Holy Family Catholic School

2601 Ursuline Ave. (Avenue N)

The Ursuline presence in Galveston dates to 1847 when seven of the religious order’s sisters arrived on the island. The first building served until 1854 when it burned and was replaced by an imposing two-story brick structure. In 1961, tornadoes severely damaged the building and it was razed the following year. The new building, designed in 1964, is now the home of Holy Family Catholic School and within its walls lies the Ursuline Chapel.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.