Page 32 - Aug2017

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32 |
GALVESTON MONTHLY |
AUGUST 2017
covered brick building that still stands today on the southwest
corner of Strand and 21
st
Street.
Here, they began to add banking to their portfolio, but the
trio would divest completely from the merchandise business
when McKinney & Williams announced their closing in 1859.
The duties and services they provided were happily assumed by
Ball, Hutchings, and Sealy, who quickly transitioned exclusively
into a banking operation.
In 1884, George Ball passed away, an event followed almost
immediately by the death of John Sealy, who entrusted his
son John Sealy II with the family business. In 1895, Hutchings
and his new scion associate hired Galveston’s famed architect
Nicholas Clayton to erect a building on the site of their first
location at 24
th
and Strand. Immediately upon its completion,
the building became and still remains one of his masterpieces.
John Henry Hutchings retired two years later, and after his
death in 1906 the financial institution was now entirely in the
hands of direct descendants of the founders.
The second generations continued operating out of the
Clayton building until 1934. After a 1930 merger with the South
Texas National Bank, founded by another Galveston icon Henry
Rosenberg, the group became Hutchings & Sealy National Bank
and acquired the property at 2202 Market.
The building on that location at the time of purchase
happened to be the first major structure of another prominent
Galveston banker; it was later taken over by the smaller,
McCarthy Bank in 1923 after Isaac Kempner’s Texas State Bank
changed its name and moved to an eleven-story tower just
across the street, known still as the United States National Bank
Building. The McCarthy bank had folded months prior, and the
building now sat unused.
Not content with the rejected grounds of an island rival,
however, Hutchings & Sealy hired local architect R.R. Rapp to
design a new building. He produced a structure that exuded the
clean lines of the quintessential style of the period, Art Deco,
but Rapp also defied the style at the same time he embraced
it, choosing a simplistic approach that was all but devoid of the
genre’s ornate, geometrical embellishments. It was a modest,
one-story building with a mezzanine floor that was occupied
solely by the bank.
Until 1957, the bank was neighbored by the headquarters
of the Maceo family operations, Turf Athletic Club, and its
subsequent Studio Lounge, Turf Grill, and real estate offices.
That year, the Texas Rangers put an end to Galveston’s reign as
a “Free State,” and all of Galveston’s underground enterprises
of bootlegging and gambling came to a screeching halt.
The following year would bring yet another merger, this time
with First National Bank, the first bank in Texas to be created
under the National Bank Act of 1865. This provided the entity
with its last official title, First Hutchings-Sealy National Bank.
Some operations were moved to FNB’s building at 22
nd
and
Strand, which it had occupied since the building’s construction
in 1878 (presently Galveston Arts Center).
Ownership of the 2202 Market property was retained,
however, and the building was still used by the bank.
Furthermore, when the unsightly demise of the surrounding
buildings became inevitable after Galveston’s alternative
economy collapsed along with Turf Athletic Club, First
Hutchings-Sealy National Bank began slowly acquiring all of the
adjacent properties on the block.
By 1968, the stage was set for the bank’s final architectural
hurrah, and plans were announced for a new, state-of-the-
art structure. Demolition of all of the properties except 2202
Market began that year. One by one, the cast iron columns,
stucco finishes, and Victorian façades were dismantled and
cleared away.
Building on corner of 23rd and
Mechanic torn down to create
parking area, circa 1960
Hutchings & Sealy National Bank at 2202 Market
Texas Bank & Trust
Co. at the corner of
2202 Market
Past & Present |
Galveston Lost
Images courtesy of the Rosenberg Library