Page 41 - Apr2017

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, designed by Native Texan artist David Adickes, is
located at 23rd Street and The Strand on the west side of the
Old Galveston Square building. Before being converted into
a freestanding sculpture and installed in Galveston in 1986,
the cornet served as a stage prop at the 1984 Louisiana World
Exposition. Adickes’ model for the sculpture was a “turn-of-
the-century-style” cornet purchased an at antique shop in
New Orleans. The sculpture is made of white concrete over a
steel frame and measures 20 feet (6.1 m) by 26 feet (7.9 m).
It features keys, a mouthpiece and spigots, and is mounted
on two metal poles.
was surveyed by the Smithsonian
Institution’s Save Outdoor Sculpture! program in 1993.
his enthusiasm for this next chapter in Galveston history was
contagious, rippling through the city and restoring not only
buildings, but hope.
What Mitchell had in investments, Bill Fullen had in longevity.
As the owner of the Mallory Produce building on the north side
of the Strand between 21st and 22nd, he was the first to open a
retail store in 1974, the Old Strand Emporium. He was also the
first to become a landlord.
When he purchased the building, an old sign painter was living
there as a caretaker, paying $35 a month in rent. Fullen let him
stay on at the same rate, and at one point that $35 was the
grand total of income generated by the building.
However as the Strand began to blossom once again, Fullen’s
business enterprises grew along with it. In 1984 he opened one
of the Strand’s most treasured spots, The Waterwall restaurant.
Nestled in the crevasse between two buildings, the outdoor
restaurant was named for its waterfall that gently cascaded
down over the entirety of a stone wall erected on the far side of
the seating area.
By 1985, the first level of the Strand held steady at an 85%
occupancy, with certain bouts of time where it reached 100%,
and the number of apartments and residences continued to
trend upward. That same year, George Mitchell executed one of
his most significant endeavors—the return of Mardi Gras. The
grand opening of his Tremont House in the Blum building was
slated for February, but Mitchell did not want just any party to
mark this special occasion. He wanted to do something with a
direct tie to Galveston’s past, and Mardi Gras was just the thing.
The Mallory Produce Building
at 2112 Strand, c. 1989
The Strand 2100 block, c. 1989
Carnival had been celebrated in Galveston as early as
1867, and the annual festivities continued well into the 20th
century, until depression and war forced them into private
homes. The coupling of Mardi Gras and the opening of the
Tremont House in the winter of 1985 was a triumphant
celebration—downtown had not seen a hotel for almost as
long as it had seen a parade or a balcony party.
Never one to rest on his laurels, George continued to seek
out investment and restoration opportunities along the
Strand, his next being the purchase of Old Galveston Square
in 1989. He immediately set about attempting to lure factory
stores to the property for the purpose of creating an outlet
mall in the building. Eventually his real estate docket would
become too expansive to manage privately, and he created
Mitchell Historic Properties. Before his death in 2013, the
company owned three-quarters of the Strand.
Still, none of that would have been possible without the initial
vision for the Strand, diligently crafted by Peter Brink and the
GHF. In 1987, they were singled out by the National Trust for
Historic Preservation and given the Preservation Honor Award.
The Trust called them a “textbook case” of a successful
preservation organization. Their foresight, along with George
Mitchell’s devotion, had forever altered the landscape of
Galveston’s economy, and their efforts had set ablaze the
community’s pride in their once-forgotten city.
APRIL 2017 |