GALVESTON —  The building at Broadway and 23rd Street began as the Sears Department store in 1940. 

Galveston Historical Foundation began using the first floor of the landmark for its Architectural Salvage Warehouse in July 2013 but is now renovating the exterior.

Workers on scaffolds can be seen as crews refurbish the exterior with a paint job and a large neon sign atop the structure. The former red- and beige-colored building now has white and green paint with a large GHF logo on the east side. 

The neon sign, which reads “GHF at the 1940 Sears Bldg,” pays homage to the original sign.

“Our sign installs the same shape and composition (of the original),” said Dwayne Johnson, executive director for Historical Foundation. “It’s following a historic precedent.”

On the first floor, the warehouse sells used housing materials for homeowners wanting to preserve or rebuild their homes.

Craig Cahill, manager of the warehouse, said many creative minds walk through the front door with the intent to turn doors into bed frames.

“Every so often we have clients bring back pictures of stuff that they’ve made with things they got from the warehouse,” Cahill said. 

Doors, windows, shutters, bathroom fixtures, countertops, mirrors, dishes and theater chairs are a sample of items on sale. 

Additionally, history fanatics may own a piece of Galveston’s past by purchasing fire mantles previously used at Fort Crockett or wooden deck panels from the 1887 Tall Ship Elissa.

The second floor is used primarily for office space. The Architectural Salvage Warehouse has permitted other nonprofits, including Galveston Island Nature Tourism Council and the Tree Conservancy, to share the space. The Turtle Island Restoration Project will also move in when space is available.  

“It’s pretty nice,” said Matthew Pelz, director of preservation and conservation for the historical foundation. 

“It creates a good environment because you have a lot of different nonprofits that could work together feasibly on different grants, applications or on different projects.”

The third floor is now used for collections storage. 

Historic items from The Samuel May Williams House, Bishop’s Palace, Ashton Villa and the Elissa are housed here. 

The area is closed to the public.

Pelz said he expects to feature a grand opening and sign-lighting ceremony once construction concludes in August.  


At a glance

Architectural Salvage Warehouse 

2228 Broadway Blvd.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday

Details: Purchases are tax-deductible with all proceeds going toward funding Galveston Historical Foundation’s preservation and conservation efforts. Donations can be dropped off during regular business hours. 

 

 

 

 

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