One of over 200 historical markers on the island, this marker is at what was once the Island City Orphans Home of the 1870’s and 1880’s a refuge for Protestant and Jewish children. The marker was erected in 2015 by the Texas Historical Commission. This is one of the Gifts of Henry Rosenberg revealed in his will after his death in 1893. Of the original seventeen Rosenberg fountains, only nine still exist. Many of these have been moved to their present sites from other locations on the island. Each fountain bears a unique design.
“The Island City Orphans Home of the 1870s and 1880s was created to provide refuge for Protestant and Jewish children in Galveston. The orphanage operated out of its original wooden structure for the next twelve years, narrowly escaping destruction in the November 1885 fire which burned houses in the immediate neighborhood. When prominent businessman and philanthropist Henry Rosenberg died in 1893, his will appointed a building fund for the orphanage. Galveston architect Alfred Muller was hired to design the Gothic Revival style structure and Thomas Lucas and Sons was chosen as the builder. The “Galveston Orphans Home,” a name that it would retain for over 80 years, was dedicated on November 15, 1895.”
“On September 8, 1900, a powerful hurricane devastated the island and the Orphans Home was heavily damaged. To benefit the reconstruction of the Orphans Home, a charity bazaar sponsored by William Randolph Hearst was held in New York City. With the $50,000 raised at the event, the Orphans Home board hired architect George B. Stowe to design the new building. Incorporating parts of the original building left standing, the new Orphans Home was constructed by local builder Harry Devlin in the Renaissance Revival style. The building was dedicated on March 30, 1902. Community support for the Galveston Orphans Home continued by way of donations and annual charity galas. In 1984, Galveston’s orphanages combined to create the Children’s Center, Inc. and moved to a different location, leaving this building vacant. For over a century, the Orphans Home provided a shelter for thousands of children and was a significant organization and charity for citizens of Galveston Island.”
“RECORDED TEXAS HISTORIC LANDMARK – 2015”
The Galveston Orphans Home was dedicated in November 1895. The building functioned as an orphanage and foster home for nearly a century. It was restored and re-opened as the Bryan Museum.
Galveston Orphans Home, also known as Galveston Children’s Home, was founded in 1878 by George Dealey and moved to this location in Galveston, Texas in 1880. The original Gothic revival building was constructed from 1894-1895 with funding from Henry Rosenberg. It was destroyed by the storm of 1900 and newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst hosted a charity bazaar at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City to raise funds for a rebuild. It was completed in 1902. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on March 21, 1979.
In October 2013, J.P. and Mary Jon Bryan purchased the old Galveston Orphans Home and after a careful restoration of the historic structure, The Bryan Museum opened in June 2015. With 20,000 square feet of exhibit space and lush, manicured grounds, it has become a Texas destination.