UTMB and the Galveston Historical Foundation are partnering to find new life for historic homes as part of a relocation and rehabilitation project that began in May.
The homes, owned by UTMB, are being given to GHF, which hired a contractor to move the structures to new locations on the island. The first two houses, which were located on Church Street just south of the Rebecca Sealy building, were moved in May to two lots at 27th and M½ streets, where the historical foundation will begin rehabilitation work. The Albert M. Darragh-built houses were both constructed in1913 by the son of pioneer Galvestonian John Darragh.
On a sunny Friday morning, the two homes—which had been loaded onto trailers by Waxahachie-based McMillan Building Movers—began their meandering, miles-long journey to their new locales near Kermit Courville Stadium.
The homes traveled along Seawall Boulevard, stopping traffic and attracting crowds of curious onlookers as the residences were being transported.
“GHF is pleased to partner with UTMB to save historic houses and return them to the community,” said Dwayne Jones, chief executive officer of Galveston Historical Foundation. “These properties give us an opportunity to experiment with innovative approaches to preserve historic houses on our island and provide new homes for Galvestonians.”
GHF plans to move three additional UTMB-owned homes in the coming months.
GHF’s Revolving Fund rehabilitation work supports historic residential and commercial properties for stabilization and rehabilitation prior to sale. The Foundation said the new location for the two houses was strategically chosen due to their proximity to significant cultural resources such as Old Central Cultural Center, Kempner Park and Garten Verein.
Moving the homes to their new locations supports UTMB’s Master Plan as it continues its mission of improving health for those in Texas and around the world.
“Partnering with the Galveston Historical Foundation in its Revolving Fund rehabilitation program is an excellent way for UTMB to continue to contribute to the community and preserve the remarkable history of the island we call home,” says Kim McKay, assistant vice president for UTMB’s Facilities Portfolio Management. “While our mission is focused on providing exemplary health care, conducting world-class research and training the next generation of clinicians, UTMB prides itself on being good stewards in our local communities. This program allows us to do that in a way that benefits all of Galveston.”
GHF’s Revolving Fund has a proven track record for historic house stabilization and rehabilitation.
The foundation’s first revitalization program started in 1972 and was focused on the vacant buildings along the Strand business district. Due to that program’s success, GHF extended its efforts in 1983 to include historic residential properties.
More recently, GHF has worked with the city of Galveston to focus on rehabilitation projects that provide affordable housing to qualified low-moderate income families. Since beginning these revitalization efforts, GHF has stabilized and rehabilitated 35 commercial structures and 40 residences.