Enjoy music, food and entertainment from numerous cultural groups and organizations throughout Texas while learning more about the early days of immigration through the Port of Galveston at Galveston Historical Foundation’s Galveston Heritage Day from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at Hendley Green, 2028 Strand St.

Admission is free-for-all entertainment. This year’s event also will feature the Sacred Places tour, showcasing five area places of worship from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday Tickets are $15 per person at www.galvestonhistory.org.

“The festival is our time to celebrate the thousands of families that came into the Port of Galveston from around the world,” explains Dwayne Jones, GHF executive director. “We will recognize the many cultures that made the island an international center in the 19th and 20th centuries.”


The festival will host numerous entertainers throughout the day on an outdoor stage at Hendley Green with performances by cultural dance groups, regional bands and a headline concert by The Auf Gehts. Additionally, special food and craft beer opportunities will be available throughout the park.

Specially selected from Galveston Historical Foundation’s Preservation Resource Center, large format images will be displayed throughout Hendley Green. These photos, many of which have never been publicly viewed, showcase Galveston’s incredible immigration history.


The popular Sacred Places tour benefits GHF’s ongoing restoration of St. Joseph’s Church, the oldest wooden church in Galveston and the oldest German Catholic church in Texas. A wide range of religious traditions and building styles will be featured, highlighting the island’s rich religious heritage while showcasing the depth and range of Galveston’s sacred architecture. Attendees are asked to check in at the 1859 St. Joseph’s Church, 2202 Avenue K, for tour passes or to purchase day-of tickets.

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

Churches included on this year’s tour are:

St. Joseph’s Church, 1859, 2202 Avenue K

By the middle of the 19th century, Galveston Island was home to nearly three thousand German immigrants, almost half the total population. Bishop John Odin, the first Catholic bishop of Texas, recommended a church be built for the German-speaking of the growing city. Erected in 1859 and dedicated in April 1860, St. Joseph’s is the oldest wooden church building in Galveston and the oldest German Catholic church in Texas.

Wesley Tabernacle United Methodist Church, 902 28th Street

At the end of the American Civil War, many African-American congregations organized, including Wesley Tabernacle United Methodist Church. Founded in 1869 on Broadway between 38th and 39th streets, the growing congregation moved to 28th Street where they erected a new building. Destroyed by The Great Storm of 1900, the surviving parishioners built the current sanctuary in 1901. The building was designed and built by John Tankersley, an African-American carpenter.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 928 14th Street (14th and Broadway)

The history of Sacred Heart parish began in 1854 when the Galveston City Company conveyed the square block bounded by 13th Street, Broadway, 14th Street, and Avenue I (Sealy) to Bishop John M. Odin of Galveston. After The Great Storm of 1900 destroyed the original sanctuary, the eclectic design with Moorish style features was designed by Brother Peter Jiminez and erected in 1903. Galveston’s famed architect Nicholas Clayton added the onion dome in 1910-1912.

Galveston Bible Church, 424 19th Street

Galveston Bible Church was founded in January 1975 as Believer’s Fellowship. A member of the Evangelical Free Church of America, the group worshipped in private homes until 1987 when they purchased a small chapel on the corner of 19th and Postoffice streets. Built in 1924 and designed by Chicago architect A.C. Fehlow, the Mission style building was originally the chapel for the local Salvation Army.

Assumption of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church, 719 19th Street

In 1895, members of the island’s Greek community joined with the city’s Serbian, Russian and Syrian citizens to found the first Eastern Orthodox church in Texas. In 1933, the Greek community formed its own congregation and purchased the former Lutheran church on the corner of 19th Street and Ball Avenue. After the building was damaged by fire, a new building, inspired by Byzantine architecture, was completed in 1964. The church was consecrated seven years later by Bishop John of Thermon.

For more information, contact Will Wright, director of communications and special events, 409-765-3404 or will.wright@galvestonhistory.org, or visit www.galvestonhistory.org.

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