One of over 200 historical markers on the island, this marker is at the former location of the Old Galveston Market House and City Hall. The marker was erected in 2014 by the Texas Historical Commission.
“During the 1830s, an informal, outdoor market started in the half-block north of Market Street between 20th and 21st streets. In 1846, mayor John Sydnor hired Ives and Crow to build a 260-foot long structure in the center of 20th Street between Mechanic (C) and Market (D) streets to serve both as a produce market and as the city hall. The Colonial style white frame building had four dormer windows and a roof cupola. The ground floor originally housed 34 meat, vegetable and coffee stalls, with the city offices, including the police department, and a large public meeting hall located on the second floor. A fish market operated across the street.”
“Galvestonians celebrated the building’s opening with a grand ball. The market stalls were stocked with produce, meat, fish and other goods brought in from the bay area on catboats that landed at the nearby Brick and Kuhn’s Wharves. Before the Civil War, annual stall rents ranged from a high of $100 (meat) to a low of $35 (fish) and the city added a 100-foot extension to meet the demand for stalls. On Oct. 7, 1862, Galvestonians gathered in the market and voted to peacefully accept Union occupation. Having escaped damage during the Civil War, the market house survived serious threats from fire in 1865 and again in 1885. Installed in 1867, a bell in the cupola rang to tell the time of day. After the Civil War, critics found the market house run-down, but expense deterred renovation. One of the last improvements occurred in 1874 when the city installed pavers. An attempt to use the attic as a holding cell in the 1870s ended when a woman prisoner broke through the roof. In 1888, a new three-story stone building replaced the 1846 frame structure.”