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Rosenberg Treasure: The Beach Hotel

The Beach Hotel

Rosenberg Treasure of the Month

Last Updated: October 1, 2018 by Rosenberg Library | History


During the month of October, Rosenberg Library will exhibit items related to the Beach Hotel, Galveston’s first oceanfront resort property. Opened in 1883, the impressive structure operated for just fifteen years before it burned to the ground in 1898.

In 1882, Galveston businessman William Henry Sinclair proposed the construction of a resort hotel along the Gulf of Mexico to attract more tourists to the island. Funded by investors in the Galveston City Railroad Company—of which Sinclair served as President—the Beach Hotel opened during the July 4 holiday in 1883 to much fanfare. Architect Nicholas J. Clayton designed the 4-story frame structure which was built atop 300 cedar pilings anchored into the sand. The roof was painted in red and white stripes, and the building and trim were painted various shades of green.

Beach Hotel

Although the hotel remained a popular destination, financial difficulties led to its closing in 1895. The building had fallen into disrepair and was sold to Clarence Gueringer. Gueringer repainted the hotel’s exterior and completely renovated the interior in 1896. Despite these efforts, the hotel fell into bankruptcy the following year. After changing ownership once again, the hotel was forced to shut down its operations after city officials discovered that its cesspools were being emptied out directly into the Gulf of Mexico rather than being connected to the city’s sewer line.

A mysterious fire erupted at the hotel during the early morning hours of July 1898—just before it opened for the new summer season. Although local firefighters arrived on the scene quickly, strong winds prevented their containment of the blaze. Within a short time, the entire hotel had burned to the ground.
Ironically, had the hotel not burned in 1898, it would surely have been lost during the Great Storm of September 8, 1900. With the construction of the Seawall following that disaster, beachfront hotels are now offered significant protection from storm surges in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Treasure of the Month is located on the library’s second floor near the Reference Desk. 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 x. 125 or visit their website.


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Rosenberg Library

Rosenberg Library has offered over a century of community service to the Galveston area, and is the oldest public library in Texas in continuous operation. The building itself was dedicated on June 22, 1904, the birthday of its patron, Henry Rosenberg. The Moody Memorial Wing opened in 1971, more than doubling the floor space and allowing for a children’s library, a history center, several galleries to showcase museum collections, and later, a computer lab. 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. Each month they display a “Treasure of the Month”. Learn more by visiting the Rosenberg Library page and the Gifts of Henry Rosenberg section.

2020-01-22T15:15:34-05:00

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This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.

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