Tax Credit Program Highlight: Willis-Moody Mansion

Galveston, Galveston County



Individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Historic Use

Single family home

Current Use

Historic house museum

Total Rehabilitation Cost


Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses


Date Certified

July 5, 2017


Certified for state credits only.


The 28,000 square-foot, 20-room mansion was constructed for the wife of cotton broker Richard Willis, but is most well-known for its second occupants, W.L. Moody and his family. Moody was also a cotton broker, in addition to founding a bank and large insurance company, and purchased the home at a steep discount after the 1900 hurricane. The Moody family occupied the house until 1986, when Mary Moody Northen, a Galveston philanthropist and preservationist, passed away. It has served as a museum since her death, and includes the house, grounds, carriage house and garage, and archival storage for the family records and belongings.

Rehabilitation Project

The house received a full restoration in the early 1990s and is well-maintained. However, it was subject to severe flooding due to Hurricane Ike in 2008, which created over four feet of standing water in the basement. The Mary Moody Northen Foundation applied for tax credits for a retroactive project, within the rules of the program, for repairs related to the flooding and subsequent conversion of the basement into the Galveston Children’s Museum, which opened in 2014. Work included brick and stone repointing and replacement, plaster repairs, window repair, replacement of non-historic doors, and new MEP and HVAC systems. A second, smaller phase of work has also been certified, which included repair of a failing plaster ceiling on the third floor of the house. Future applications for other projects will assist the foundation in its mission to provide continuing care for this important historic landmark.

Photo Gallery

Click on any image to view the photo gallery.

  • Ground floor windows were fully repaired and protected with new exterior storm windows.