Treasure of the Month

“Such a library as ours would not only contain books and current periodicals,
but there would be…articles of historic, scientific, and artistic interest.”

~ Frank C. Patten, Head Librarian of Rosenberg Library, 1904 – 1934

The Library accepted its first museum piece shortly after it opened in 1904. Since then, thousands of rare and interesting objects from around the world have been added to the collection. Displayed in these pages are the Library’s “Treasures of the Month.”

October 2019 “Treasure of the Month”
The Joseph Seinsheimer House
This photo of the Joseph Seinsheimer House depicts the residence as it appeared during the 1880s. The elegant structure was razed in 1960.

This photo of the Joseph Seinsheimer House depicts the residence as it appeared during the 1880s. The elegant structure was razed in 1960.

During the month of October, Rosenberg Library will exhibit two 19th century street markers salvaged during the 1960 demolition of the Joseph Seinsheimer residence. Located at 25th Street and Avenue K, the home was one of the first brick residences in Galveston.

In 1858, Galveston resident David Bradbury—a sea captain—purchased three lots at the southeast corner of 25th Street and Avenue K. He began construction of an elegant three-story masonry structure which featured white trim, arched windows, and wide porches. Bradbury imported high-quality pressed bricks and other specialized building materials from Europe to complete the job. Tragically, Bradbury’s wife, Julia, died before the home was finished, and Bradbury sold it. A few years later, the house was reportedly used as the headquarters of Confederate colonel Henry M. Elmore, leader of the Twentieth Texas Infantry stationed in Galveston during the Civil War.

These stone street markers were salvaged when the Seinsheimer home was razed in 1960.  These were a gift of R.W Alford, the contractor hired to wreck the home.  (image courtesy of Rosenberg Library)

These stone street markers were salvaged when the Seinsheimer home was razed in 1960. These were a gift of R.W Alford, the contractor hired to wreck the home (image courtesy of Rosenberg Library).

Henry Seeligson, a prominent banker, acquired the property during the late 1870s and lived there for several years until he sold it to Joseph Seinsheimer. Joseph, his wife Blanche, and their three children (Joseph Fellman, Emma, and Edythe) moved into the home in 1883. Seinsheimer was born in Cincinnati in 1855 and came to Galveston in 1873. He initially worked for Marx and Kempner, cotton factors and wholesale grocers; later he joined the H. Kempner banking firm. The Seinsheimer family remained in the home for more than 50 years and made various renovations during that time. The house was raised five feet to better protect it from flooding, new wings were added, and existing porches were expanded.

Joseph Seinsheimer died in June 1938 at age 82. He contracted pneumonia during a trip to Los Angeles and died in his room at the Biltmore Hotel. His body was transported back to Galveston, and he was interred at Galveston Memorial Park Cemetery in Hitchcock. Blanche Seinsheimer died in October 1945 at the family home where she lived with her two adult daughters, Emma and Edythe. When the Seinsheimer sisters moved to a house at 31st Street and Avenue O, the house on Avenue K was converted into a multi-unit apartment building. In October 1960, the once-grand estate was razed. A modern, one-story office building was erected in its place in 1978.

Two original street markers—one from the side of the home facing Avenue K and the other from the side facing Bath Avenue (now 25th Street / Rosenberg Avenue) were salvaged from the demolition site and were donated to Rosenberg Library by R.W. Alford.

The Treasure of the Month is located on the Library’s historic second floor near the East Entrance. It can be viewed during regular library hours, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, please contact the Museum Office at (409) 763 – 8854 ext. 125.