Ashton Villa & Heritage Visitor Center, Galveston
Galveston is a very nice town of about 48,000(down 17% since 2000) located on an island off the Texas coast at the end of Interstate 45in GalvestonCounty in the Gulf Coast part of Southeast Texas. The island was an Akoksia Indian site and the Karankawa Indians used it as a hunting and fishing site. The island was visited by early European explorers and the pirate Jean Laffite established a settlement here in 1817. The port here was the headquarters for the Texas Navy during the Texas Revolution. Galveston was even, briefly, the capitol of the Republic of Texas. In 1838, a town was established here and the next year the Texas Legislature granted incorporation to Galveston. Firsts in Texas claimed by Galveston include: The first medical college, the first electric lights, the first Catholic convent, the first golf course, first opera house, first post office, first hospital, and organization of the Texas Bar Association. Galveston was devastated by a hurricane in 1900 when 6000 people were killed and 37,000 buildings were destroyed. Two years later a seawall was built to protect the town during hurricanes and it has proven its worth several times since then. Galveston was notorious for gambling and other things during prohibition until the Texas Rangers raided it in 1957. Today the 32 miles of beaches, variety of attractions, and natural beauty make Galveston a very popular tourist destination.
A great place to start your tour of Galveston is the Visitors Center located in Ashton Villa. Here the friendly local experts can show you films about the town, give you maps, brochures and other literature, and make recommendations to help you get the maximum enjoyment out of your visit based on your budget, time on hand, and interests. The center is located with Aston Villa an Italianate style home built in 1859. At various times during the Civil War, Aston Villa was a Confederate and a Union Headquarters. Aston Villa was the site of the first Juneteenth Celebration on 19 June 1865 when area slaves learned they were freed. The visitor’s center is open from 9 AM to 5 PM daily. Tours of Aston Villa are available 10 AM to 4 PM Monday through Saturday and Noon to 4 PM on Sunday. There is another visitor’s center downtown in the "Old Strand" Section.
This is a beautifully restored antebellum house which was built in 1859 and set a standard of the homes that followed. The house was furnished with lovely antiques and family heirlooms and was owned by one of Texas' wealthiest businessmen James Moreau Brown. It is now home to the Heritage Visitors Center which offers complete visitors services as well as brochures, maps and local information.
Open : Mon-Sat: 10am - 5pm, Sun: Noon - 5pm. Tours: 7 days Noon - 4pm, on the hour.