Scottish Rite Masonic Cathedral to Headline
2007 Galveston Historic Homes Tour
GALVESTON, TX-Many people who have lived on this island their entire lives say they have never had the opportunity to see inside the grand and extravagant Scottish Rite Masonic Cathedral at 2128 Church in downtown Galveston. The imposing Art Deco cast-stone and brick building, designed by Houston architect H. Jordan MacKenzie in the office of Alfred C. Finn, was erected in 1929 to replace a Masonic Cathedral on the same site that that was destroyed by fire in 1928. The original cathedral, an imposing Victorian by Galveston's famous Nicholas Clayton, was built as Harmony Hall in 1880. The cathedral has always been the secret enclave of its members, open to the public only for small, invitation-based events.
This year marks the first time the cathedral will be one of the featured properties on the Galveston Historic Homes Tour. Far more people will have the opportunity to tour the building than ever before in its history, says Roy "Abbie" Hughes, the cathedral's historian.
Dominated by Egyptian ceremonial space and a versatile auditorium with stage backdrops reflecting atmospheric sets such as the Roman catacombs, the cathedral's interior is colorful and expressive, evoking a sense of reverence and mystery.
The cathedral headlines Galveston Island's annual architectural extravaganza, the 33rd Galveston Historic Homes Tour, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6, and Saturday and Sunday, May 12 and 13, 2007, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Advance tickets for the tour are $20 each and are available online at
or by calling 409-765-7834. Patrons who purchase their homes tour tickets in advance will save five dollars over the gate price of $25 a ticket. Advance tickets purchased at Houston/Galveston Kroger Food stores with a Kroger Plus card cost $19. Members of Galveston Historical Foundation save most of all; advance tickets for members are $15 each.
The Galveston Historic Homes Tour, always held the first two weekends in May, showcases a new lineup of the island's most unique architectural treasures each year. This year, 10 different privately owned properties will be on the tour.
33rd Annual Galveston Historic Homes Tour Properties:
* an 1860 worker's cottage that has been transformed into a lovely island retreat
* an exquisitely appointed loft apartment in the Sergeant Building on Rosenberg
* the grand Bondies-Robertson Mansion, an Eastlake built in 1877
* a classic five-bay Gulf Coast cottage built in 1886
* the 1890 Liberty S. McKinney House, this year's restoration in progress
* the 1892 Henck Tenant House, a side-hall row house with double front gallery
* the 1892 Henry and Hazel Eimar House
* a renovated tenant house from 1905 with a grandly appointed interior
* a 1920 bungalow that was moved by GHF two years ago to save it from demolition
* the magnificent and mysterious Scottish Rite Masonic Cathedral
In addition to showcasing renovated historic homes to the public, this year the Galveston Historic Homes Tour will feature a wide array of new, separately ticketed special events designed to offer homes tour guests more opportunities to enjoy the island's charms during their visit.
There will be two evening preview parties on Friday, May 4, a Red Hat Luncheon at the historic Garten Verein Pavilion on Sunday, May 6, and a Mother's Day Brunch at Garten Verein on Sunday, May 13. Ashton Villa will host a dinner theater focusing on Galveston's famous 19th-century Bettie Brown on Friday, May 11. There will be two farewell receptions for homes tour poster artist Pam Heidt, one on each Saturday during the homes tour. And patrons can end their day of house tours on Saturday, May 12 with Galveston Uncorked! a wine stroll through Galveston's historic downtown.
For Tickets to all Galveston Historic Homes Tour events, go to
, visit any Houston/Galveston-area Kroger Food Store, or call 409-765-7834.