One of more than 200 historical markers on the island, this marker is located at one of the earliest commercial blocks in Galveston, Berlocher Row.
“One of the earliest commercial blocks in Galveston, this row of three three-story brick buildings was constructed for John Berlocher by builder John Brown. The easternmost building, 2309 Mechanic, was erected in 1858. The westernmost, 2315 Mechanic, was built soon after, as both appear on the Map of Galveston, Texas showing The Rebel Line of Works, 1865.”
“The architectural style is Greek Revival. Originally the red brick with 1/16 inch mortar joints, similar to that used in the Hendley Building on the Strand, was exposed. The buildings also had finely detailed sill, labels, and lintels of cast iron.”
“John Berlocher, a native of Switzerland, was an early settler and wholesale merchant in Galveston who owned commercial buildings on the Strand and Mechanic Street. He built four of the first brick commercial buildings in the city. Three of his buildings were on the Strand, all on the same site, and were destroyed by successive fires. During the Battle of Galveston, January 1, 1863, his building on the Strand was in the line of fire from the 11-inch guns on the Federal ship ”Owasco” and was damaged by cannon fire.”
“These disasters ruined him financially and in 1876 this row on Mechanic Street was sold to Gustave Oppermann in a Trustee’s sale. It remained in the Opperman family until 1903, when it was sold to Mistrot Bros. & Co., a wholesale and retail dry goods and clothing firm which then owned the Leon & H. Blum Building across the street.”
“A drug store, a crockery shop, a coffee and spice company, various business offices, a feed store, a lodge chapter, and a dance studio have occupied the buildings over the years. After the Battle of Galveston the building was used by the Confederate Army as a Guardhouse. In 1868 the United States Internal Revenue had an office here. Neidermann’s Galveston Builder’s Supply Company was located in the west building from 1923 to 1943, followed by J. A. Neidermann’s antique store until 1979.”
“In 1980 a fire damaged the upper floors and roof of the west building and it was bought by the Revolving Fund of the Galveston Historical Foundation. George and Cynthia Mitchell soon purchased the building, subject to protective deed restrictions, and have undertaken its restoration.”