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E.S. Levy Bld.
Renovation

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An Artspaceprojects,Inc. Development

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1871- “School for Scandal” Tremont Opera House

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view North down Tremont Street circa 1890

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North-West corner -E.S. Levy & Co.,circa 1920
 

The work begins...

left abandoned for 20 years with an open sky light acted as a five story water fall during the heavy island storms and was home for many Galveston pigeons. Demolition and clean up began in January 2000. Three months later we were left with a skeleton of a building, structural system left in tack; except for some problem areas caused by the years of neglect.
Now the building starts to  breath a new breath of fresh salt air...

 

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the Decay

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North West Corner 5th Floor
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Asbestos Abatement

History
Architects/Tenants
Criterion
Timeline
Progress Images

View prior to Demolition
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North West Exterior Castiron exposed

The E. W. Levy Building occupies the southeast corner of Market and 23rd (Tremont) Streets in the Galveston Central Business District. The Levy Building is located one block north of Postoffice Street, which in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was one of the city’s main retail strips. When the building was constructed in 1896, it was the first major building in downtown Galveston for architect Charles W. Bulger who is also known for the following commercial buildings in the Strand-Mechanic Landmark Historic District: 1906 Heffron Building, now known as the U.S. Appraiser’s Stores; a 1904 addition to the Clarke and Courts Building; and a 1904 reconstruction of the Marx & Blum Building (built 1890, Nicholas Clayton, architect). Bulger’s residential buildings include several new builds and remodels in the East End Landmark Historic District (NR 1975, National Landmark 1976) such as: The Victorian Inn (AKA 503 17Th. Street, built 1900); 1718 Church, 1906 Bulger remodel; 1514 Ball, built 1897; 1318 Sealy, built 1896; 1502 Broadway, built 1906. In the Silk Stocking Historic District (NR, 1997) Bulger designed and built many houses on the 1300 and 1400 blocks of 24th Street and Rosenberg.

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Traces of a Past Life; uncovered and to be celebrated

One this site, previous to the department store, stood the Tremont Opera House, built in 1870-71. Architect C. W. Bulger’s intent was to remodel the Opera House for use as the Levy Department store. What actually happened was that the exterior supporting walls of the first floor were incorporated into the Levy building. The interior first floor was completely rebuilt.

"The Levy Building was built by an early Galveston business. The firm started in 1877 as a men’s and boy’s clothing and furnishings store. In 1879 the company became known and E.S. Levy & Co. and remained in business until 1979 and was owned and operated by the Levy family. The firm built E.S. Levy & Co. building in 1896 and moved to the location in 1897. When built, this structure was the "first real office building in Galveston," according to the Tribune. The building was equipped with an elevator. The Levy store was on the first floor and there were 84 professional offices above. The fifth floor was added in 1900. Levy & Co. moved to the Postoffice Street location (2227 Postoffice) in 1917 and various businesses located the Levy building including Woolworth’s." After 1908, the Levy building was owned and occupied by various business interests of W. L. Moody, Jr., first the City National Bank and subsequently the National Hotel Company.

The original site of the first Levy store in Galveston was a 20-foot front store at 2217 Avenue D. The store began as a men’s furnishings store. In 1900, E.S. Levy & Co. headed by Ed S. Levy, moved into the first floor of its new five-story building at 23rd and Market Streets. In 1917 the firm moved to the first floor of the building at 2227 Postoffice.

The U.S. Weather Bureau’s Galveston office was in the Levy building at the time of the Great Storm of 1900, still the nation’s deadliest natural disaster. The Bureau was run by Isaac Cline, his forth station since joining the Weather Bureau in 1882. Weather instruments were installed and monitored on the roof and hurricane warning flags were flown there until both were whisked away by the high winds sometime on Saturday evening, September 8, 1900.

The building is identified with a leading Galveston family, and was designed by C.W. Bulger, architect of several major downtown structures; and visually has dominated this busy intersection since its construction.

 

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Studio Perspective View of Loft