Tax Credit Program Highlights: First Presbyterian Church, Galveston

Galveston, Galveston County



Individually listed in National Register of Historic Places

Historic Use


Current Use


Date Certified

January 4, 2018


Certified for state credits only.

Project Contact

First Presbyterian Church, Galveston; David Watson Architect & Associates


In 1836, the first Protestant sermon in Galveston was given near the old Navy Yard. A formal Presbyterian congregation was later organized in 1840, with plans to build Galveston’s first church. The original First Presbyterian Church was built in 1843, and used until 1872, when it was replaced with the current building. The Romanesque-style building was an early work of prominent Galveston architect Nicholas Clayton. The church was dedicated on February 24, 1889 to one of its pastors, Robert Franklin Bunting. The building was called “Bunting’s Folly” because of Dr. Buntings nickname, the “Fighting Parson,” which he received when he served as a chaplain of the 8th Texas Calvary, commonly known as “Terry’s Texas Rangers.”

Rehabilitation Project

Major rehabilitation work began as a result of Hurricane Ike, which hit Galveston in 2008. The building was flooded by the storm surge, causing significant damage. The congregation was forced to relocate for several years while repairs were completed in stages. While the project was necessitated by the hurricane, it spurred the congregation to undertake a full restoration of the main sanctuary and a smaller chapel. Historic painting was restored; new carpet was reproduced to the match the original; the organ was fully repaired; and new HVAC was installed, with vents carefully integrated into the wood ceiling. Stained glass windows are being restored, as money is available, with new protective windows installed on the exterior of the building.

Photo Gallery

Click on any image to view the photo gallery.

  • Significant work was undertaken in the main sanctuary, to repair damage from the hurricane and restore previously lost historic elements.