Tax Credit Program Highlight: Galveston Childrens Home

Galveston, Galveston County



Individually listed in the National Register

Historic Use


Current Use


Total Rehabilitation Cost


Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses


Date Certified

November 19, 2016


Certified for state credits only


Prior to 1880, many Galveston children were orphaned due to the lack of modern medicine coupled with epidemics and short life expectancies. The city had no system for the care of orphans and public attention was called to the need for a children’s home. The first orphanage in the city was built with $30,000 gifted to the city by philanthropist Henry Rosenberg after his death in 1894. It consisted of playrooms, natatorium, library, dormitories and dining rooms. It was almost totally destroyed during the 1900 hurricane and rebuilt in 1902 using some of the original structure that remained standing. The building functioned as an orphanage until 1985.

Rehabilitation Project

Because the building had been abandoned for many years it was in need of a complete rehabilitation, although historic features were remarkably intact. The historic floorplan was retained, with the original dining rooms, dormitories, and other large rooms used for gallery spaces to support the new museum use (as The Bryan Museum). Smaller rooms were converted to offices, meeting rooms, and archival storage. The ground floor now houses children’s museum and play spaces, along with bride and groom rooms for rental events. Woodwork throughout the building was remarkably intact and was preserved and refinished, along with the 97 historic wood windows, which were covered with exterior storm windows to meet coastal wind load requirements. Exterior masonry was also thoroughly repaired.

Photo Gallery

Click on any image to view the photo gallery.

  • A lobby desk for the museum was tucked into the fireplace and stair alcove at the end of the entry hall.