Galveston, Texas – May 2019 – The Strand Historic District

Greetings from Galveston, Texas.




Galveston was one of the earliest settlements in what eventually became Texas. The main commercial street in town is known as the Strand.

The first buildings were built out of wood, but it became apparent that with the frequent hurricanes that hit Galveston that more sturdy buildings were called for, hence by the 1870s the entire street was built of iron and brick.




Old Galveston Square dates from 1859, with recent repairs complete due to yet another hurricane that did damage to the building.




While Galveston is a city of 50,000, and part of the massive Houston Metro area, the street feels more like a smaller Midwest town.



The Peanut Butter Warehouse dates from 1912, where it served for nearly 100 years as a grocery warehouse. Today it has been converted into condos.



At one time the street was known as the ‘Wall Street of the South’.




Most of the doors on the buildings are huge – nearly 10′ high.




The Hutchings Building is one of the earliest examples of a steel frame building in Texas.



A few of the classic buildings are in the surrounding blocks.




While not as old, but second to none, the former Santa Fe Railroad Station now serves as a museum on the 1st floor, and offices above.




Built in the art deco style, it has the requisite stylish mailbox.




By the time we reached this building the museum was closed for the day, but could still be viewed through some windows.





Our home for the night was the Tremont Hotel, and classic old building. When I asked if the building was always a hotel the desk clerk said ‘no, it was a store, and a warehouse among other things. In fact during the terrible storm of 1900 (which caused more deaths than any other event in American history – over 8000 people) they used the building to store the bodies.

It turns out this hotel has quite the history for being haunted, but we didn’t have any unexpected visitors during our stay.

The stylish arch over the street was placed there over the street in 1985 for Mardi Gras They liked it so much they left it.

Cincinnati – January 2019 – Union Terminal

As noted in previous postings the Cincinnati Union Terminal is a masterpiece of art deco that was completed in 1933. It has the largest semi-dome in the western hemisphere, measuring 180 feet wide by 106 feet high.









Once it closed as a rail station in the early 1970s it lived on briefly as a shopping mall before becoming the Cincinnati Museum Center in 1990.

It is immensely popular, with the original information booth serving as the ticket booth for the museums.





Fortunately each weekend day they offer tours of the building. While (as noted in other posts) portions of the building are undergoing restorations, it is still an amazing place to see any of it.

Our docent lead us on an hour tour, giving highlights and details.





The art deco touch is evident throughout, including this ticket booth for one of the smaller theaters.





Among the highlights are the massive mosaic murals on the main rotunda, as well as others hidden in corridors. The detail in the murals are amazing.

All depict either transportation or industry of Cincinnati over the years (up to 1932).


















An ice cream shop off the main rotunda was once the women’s tea room. The entire room is Rookwood (a famed Cincinnati ceramics pottery company).









While it was abandoned as a train station in the 1970s, Amtrak has returned and uses a small portion of the building. It too has a great art deco look, with inlaid wood depicting railroad scenes.





A bank of phone booths grace one wall – without phones, but you can always close the door and use your cell phone.





Pierre Bourdelle was a framed French artist who designed linoleum panels with floral design for the walls of the women’s lounge.

Fortunately it is no longer a women’s lounge so anyone (including me) can see it.





A private dining room, and former men’s lounge, has a large mural of a map of Cincinnati and nearby northern Kentucky on the wall and mirrored walls giving a great effect.





A second view of the room.





Finally a stop in the main dining room that features some recently discovered food themed artwork.

The Cincinnati Union Terminal was, and continues to be, one of Ohio’s great buildings.