Historic Galveston (Galveston, TX)
Historic Galveston (Galveston, TX) Real Estate News
BILL CHERRY, William S. Cherry & No Co., Wealth Coach (William S. Cherry & No Co., Wealth Coach)

This is a very well attended, famous event.  Ron Wyatt is not only a superb organist but an entertaining raconteur.  The church's 4,000 pipe Austin organ is the instrument of the angels.

Houstonian Edgar Moore's Sons of Orpheus Choir for years has joined Mr. Wyatt at the Trinity Pipe Organ Extravanza!  They'll be there again this year!



A Dickens Evening on the Strand Tradition

Saturday, December 03, 2011, 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Trinity Episcopal Church, 2216 Ball (Avenue H)

TICKETS: 409 765-6317

Click here to see my TV Pieces - Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories

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Organist Ronald Wyatt

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The popular Pipe Organ Extravaganza, featuring internationally acclaimed concert organist Ronald Wyatt, returns Saturday evening, December 3, 2011 to historic Trinity Episcopal Church in downtown Galveston, Texas.

A fixture of Galveston’s Christmas celebrations for more than 20 years, Extravaganza performances were halted following Hurricane Ike in 2008. Cleanup and repair made necessary by the weather catastrophe has taken more than three years, but the church’s sanctuary, built in 1857, is now completely restored, including the huge and spectacular stained glass Tiffany window, located above the altar.

Long-planned alterations have brightened the sanctuary’s acoustics, making the space ideal forlive musical performances. In addition to great music and Christmas carol singing, the evening will include a special appearanceby Houston choral group The Sons of Orpheus, under the direction of Edgar Moore.

Following the Pipe Organ Extravaganza, authentic Victorian refreshments will be served by candlelight in the church’s 1882 Eaton Hall, designed by the renowned architect Nicholas Clayton. The Pipe Organ Extravaganza celebrates Galveston Historical Foundation’s Dickens on The Strand festival, now in its 40th year.

 8:00 p.m.—Pipe Organ Extravaganza, Ronald Wyatt, concert organist



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BILL CHERRY, William S. Cherry & No Co., Wealth Coach (William S. Cherry & No Co., Wealth Coach)

Taken in the Foyer of the Moody Mansion

Galveston, Texas started its life as a city with a lot of families who would become rich as a result of the many businesses a very prolific and active seaport would sustain.

One of those families, the family of Colonel William Lewis Moody, his wife and children, came to Texas in the late 1850s and settled in Galveston a few years later.

Col. Moody and his son, W.L. Moody, Jr., built an empire whose foundation was cotton compressing, wharf ownership, and banking.  At the turn of the century, a life insurance company was added that would sell small weekly-premium insurance policies to the working class.  It grew into a huge company, the American National Insurance Co., and it still maintains its home office in Galveston.

When W.L. Moody, Jr. died in 1954 the value of the estate was nearly one-half billion dollars.  The majority of those assets became the corpus of a charitable foundation whose beneficiary is listed as "the people of Texas."

Today the family's patriarch is W.L. Moody, Jr.'s grandson, Robert L. Moody, Sr.

The home of W.L. Moody, Jr. is one of the mansion museums on the Island, and like the others, it attracts thousands of visitors every year.  The home survived the 1900 storm.

The Moody family commissioned author Henry Wiencek to write their story and then to describe in detail the Moody home museum and its furnishings.

E. Douglas McLeod, an attorney and a senior official of the Moody Foundation, is the brother-in-law of Robert Moody. A former state legislator, city councilman, school board trustee and Rotary Club president, McLeod has been associated with the Moody family since he served as a lifeguard at one of their Island hotels when he was a teenager.  That is an association that has now passed fifty years.

Robert Moody contributed a foreword to the book where he tells the stories of learning about business from his grandfather.  Douglas McLeod provides an epilogue that further explains the Moodys, their traditions and current activities.  These are,  in my mind, very important additions to Mr. Wiencek's work.

Because I was a precocious child, I made it a point to meet W.L. Moody, Jr., at his home when I was about ten years old.  Those visits, I think, helped me to know about him and his family, a knowledge that was and remains primarily unknown by the public.  You see, the Moodys are traditionally a private family.

So I believe I can accurately assure those who are interested, that the contributors to The Moodys of Galveston & Their Mansion provide readers good insight.

The great irony, however, is that the publisher, Texas A&M University Press,  had the book printed in China by Everbest Printing Co., Ltd.

The Moodys of Galveston & Their Mansion by Henry Wiencek. Texas A&M University Press.
108 pages: Publishers Price: $19.95

3017 AVE O, GALVESTON - THE 1896 SMITH-ROWLEY HOME Now $308,000.
BILL CHERRY, William S. Cherry & No Co., Wealth Coach (William S. Cherry & No Co., Wealth Coach)

REDUCED TO $308,000


My formative years as a Realtor involved listing and selling Galveston historic homes and renovating a number of them myself.  In addition, I was one of the most active participants in the adaptive restoration of the iron front buildings on Strand and Mechanic streets.

The real estate firm that I founded was called The Old House Company.

And for many years, my wife and I lived in one of those homes that we had restored.  It was at 1320 Ball. And we restored and owned a building on the southeast corner of 24th and Strand which we named Peter Gengler Market, after a famous grocery store that once operated in the city.

While we now live in Dallas and no longer own any real estate in Galveston, I continue to maintain an acute interest in the historical facet of the city.

The 1896 Smith-Rowley House is currently for sale through my friend of many yars, real estate agent, Andrea Sunseri (409 797-5537).  It is owned by the former rector of Trinity Episcopal Church and his wife, a prominent educator and accomplished artist.  In my view, it is one of the best home restorations in the city, and further, one of the best maintained.

Those planning to live on the Island should consider homes like the 1896 Smith-Rowley House that are a part of the Island's rich history.  Living in one will bring you closer to understanding and enjoying life in Galveston.

Mrs. Sunseri (409 797-5537) or any other Galveston Realtor will be happy to give you further details about the 1896 Smith-Rowley House.  Or, if you'd like, you may call or email me and I'll help your arrange an appointment to visit the 1896 Smith-Rowley House. 


 The 1896 Smith-Rowley House
3017 Avenue O ~ Galveston, Texas

Now $308,0000


Many of the original interior fixtures of the house have been maintained through the years.  Of particular interest are the carved mantles and the original brass light fixtures.    The paneling in the entry and the wainscoting throughout the house are made of longleaf pine and contribute s faint but distinct scent to the rooms.  Note that  the ceiling fixtures in the front parlor and dining room are gasoliers and were originally capable of providing light with either electricity or illuminating gas.


At the top of the front stairway are bedrooms.  Note the unusual configuration of the rooms due to the bows in both bedrooms and the additional bay window in the west bedroom.  The original bathtub, mirror, and marble vanity can be seen in the upstairs bathroom, which opens into the central hallway.  As you proceed toward the back of the house, the master bedroom opens off the hallway on the left.  The former upstairs back porch has been converted into a roomy bathroom with two lavatories, shower, and whirlpool tub.  The fourth bedroom is used today as a guestroom and has a staircase leading up to the attic, which is floored.


After descending the back staircase, you will enter the kitchen, which was modernized in the early 1970's.  Pass through the kitchen to the one-time back porch, which is not the den.  As you pass through the hallway toward the front of the house, you will note on the left the utility room (formerly the pantry and storeroom) and the small downstairs bathroom resulting from the conversion of an area that was originally a closet or staircase.  On the right are the dining room and the front parlor, each with its own coal burning fireplaces.  There are functional jib windows leading from these two rooms onto the verandah where fresh Gulf breezes are felt.  The house originally had nine jib windows, seven of them opening onto upstairs balconies.  The above ground basement is enclosed and has a concrete floor.


In 1894, R. Waverly Smith purchased land on Avenue O from Robert I. Cohen.  The present owners are in possession of the original title policy issued in that sale and signed by Maco Stewart, founder of Stewart Title Company.  R.W. Smith was a well-regarded young lawyer who became City Attorney and eventually became president of the First National Bank of Galveston.  He played an important role in the development of the commission form of government for Galveston following the disastrous hurricane of 1900.  In September 1896, he married Jennie Sealy, the daughter of John Sealy.

During that same year, construction was begun on this wood frame Queen Ann style house.  The house was designed and built by Galveston architect George B. Stowe.  During the construction, the Smiths lived with the bride's mother, Rebecca Sealy, on the corner of Tremont and Sealy.  When Rebecca Sealy died in 1897, the Smiths remained in the Sealy home, sharing it with the bride's brother, John Sealy II, and rented the home on Avenue O.

The house survived the 1900 Storm and in 1903, R. Waverly Smith sold it to Henry K. and Minerva Rowley.  As part of the grade raising after the 1900 Storm, the house was elevated an additional three and one-half feet and the carriage house was raised four and one-half feet.  Mr. Rowley was an employee of thee Union Pacific Railway.  Members of the Rowley family lived in the house for the next 51 years.  Mr. and Mrs. Rowley and their only son, William, died during the influenza epidemic of 1917-1918, leaving the home to their two daughters, Frances Rowley, a physician and specialist in diseases of the eyes, ears, nose, and throat, and Medora Rowley, an artist.

Upon the death of Medora Rowley in 1954, the house was left to trusted friends, Mrs. Robert Townsend and Mrs. E.P. Russell.  Mr. and Mrs. Townsend then purchased Mrs. Russell's interest in the property and made it their home.  Renovations by the Townsends included a new roof, closing in of the first and second story back porches to provide additional rooms, and the construction of a new three-car garage to replace the decrepit carriage house.

After several other owners, the house was purchased in 1979 by Dr. and Mrs. Edgar Ben Smith.  Dr. Smith was head of the Department of Determatology at U.T.M.B.  In 1999, at the time of his call to be rector of Trinity Episcopal Church, The Reverend and Mrs. Ronald D. Pogue purchased the house from the Smiths, who moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

A photograph of the Pogue's Christmas Tree was featured in the December 2000 issue of Victorian Homes magazine.  In 2004, the Pogue's engaged Dale Thwing and Signature Design Group of Houston to assist them in restorations to the interior design of the house.  The pine floors were refinished and the downstairs woodwork was restored to its original natural finish.  Upstairs woodwork was painted with white enamel.  Window coverings and upholstery for most of the interior were created by Thwing.  These restoration and interior design improvements were completed in time for the 2005 Galveston Historic Homes Tour.  When Hurricane Ike struck Galveston in September of 2008, even though there was two feet of water in the yard surrounding the house, the living area sustained no damage and by the spring of 2009 the grass was green, the two live oak trees were putting out new leaves, and the gardens were in full bloom.

For an appointment to see the 1896 Smith-Rowley Home, call the listing agent, Andrea Sunseri (409 696-5537) or any Galveston Realtor.



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