GALVESTON — Galveston Historical Foundation will honor the 175th anniversary of the city of Galveston with lectures and tours at the historic Menard Campus, 3302 Ave. O.
The lectures will take place at 2 p.m. on Sundays — Sunday, June 22, July 13 and Aug. 3.
In addition, Galveston’s oldest residential dwelling, the 1838 Menard House, will be open for public tours.
Tours will be available from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 22, July 6 and Aug. 3.
Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for students ages 6-18.
The price for individual lectures is $12 for nonmembers and $10 for historical foundation members.
A package price for the complete series is available for $40 for nonmembers and $35 for members.
Reservations are recommended and can be made by visiting www.galvestonhistory.org or by calling 409-750-9180.
Schedule of lectures
• June 1: The First Customhouses and Customs Officers in the “City of Firsts”
When the city of Galveston was founded 175 years ago, it was the largest city and port in the new Republic of Texas.
President Sam Houston wasted no time in establishing a Customs Service and then appointing a Collector of Customs, eventually building a Custom House at Galveston.
The new Republic needed revenue to survive, and Galveston provided more revenue to the meager Treasury than any other Customs district in the Republic.
The first Collectors of Customs were not “faceless bureaucrats” but well-known entrepreneurs and adventurers.
Men with well-known names like Menard, Borden, Harris and Sorley occupied Galveston’s first Custom Houses.
The story of the building of the first Custom Houses in Galveston and the men that collected the revenue is as intriguing as the history of Galveston itself.
The lecture will be presented by Steven W. Hooper, a retired special agent in charge for the United States Customs Service.
• June 22: “Death and Resurrection of the first Medical Museums in Galveston”
At the opening of the University of Texas Medical Department in October 1891 there were two museums in “Old Red,” one anatomical the other pathological.
The museums were among the first in Galveston. They grew to achieve national recognition and were praised in Abraham Flexner’s report on medical education in the United States and Canada (1910).
The museums expanded and moved from “Old Red” to the New Laboratory Building in 1925.
The museums were open to the public and highly unusual for the period. This lecture charts the rise of fall of the museums and describes what remains of the former collections and how they could form the nucleus of a future medical museum.
The lecture will be presented by Dr. Paula Summerly, research project manager for the John P. McGovern Academy of Oslerian Medicine, and chair of the “Old Red” Medical Museum Task Force and Heritage Committee at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
• July 13: Rosenberg Library, the First Public Library in Texas
The 175-year-old city of Galveston has been credited with a long list of “firsts” in Texas. Among these is the state’s first public library.
The Galveston Chamber of Commerce founded a library for local citizens 144 years ago. Although Rosenberg Library was not established until 1904, its roots can be traced to this predecessor.
While most people are familiar with the Rosenberg Library at 2310 Sealy St., many probably don’t realize that at one time there existed a separate Rosenberg Library branch for African-American residents.
The presentation will include rarely seen historical photos and documents related to these institutions.
The lecture will be presented by Eleanor Barton, Rosenberg Library Museum curator.
• Aug. 3: The Galveston City Company: First Land Development Company in Texas
One of the first land development companies west of the Mississippi, the Galveston City Company was organized in 1838 under the leadership of Michel Menard and other founders.
The company sold lots for development and donated others for community projects or public institutions.
The presentation reveals preliminary findings from a special project undertaken to examine the minutes of the company, communication among stockholders and managers and descriptive information on the beginnings of Galveston.
The final presentation of the 2014 Menard Summer Lecture series provides a rare look into the archives held by Stewart Title Company, which reveal the first few decades of the island’s history.
The lecture will be presented by W. Dwayne Jones and Andrew Coleman.
Jones is the executive director of the Galveston Historical Foundation. Coleman is a historian and native Galvestonian.