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The Grand 1894 Opera House (Grand Opera House and Hotel Grand)

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Grand Opera House and Hotel Grand
1894–1895, Frank Cox and N. Tobey Jr. 2012–2020 Post Office St.
  • (Photograph by Gerald Moorhead )

When Market Street became the city's major financial corridor in the 1920s, Postoffice Street inherited Market Street's role as the leading street for retail trade and middle-class entertainment. The Grand Opera House and Hotel Grand, designed by obscure New Orleans architect Frank Cox for New Orleans theatrical entrepreneur Henry Greenwall, forecast Postoffice's rise to local eminence. Dark red brick with inset panels of terra-cotta in the third-floor spandrels give the four-story building a Queen Anne aspect, enhanced by the scale of the limestone-framed arch marking the Postoffice Street entrance to the theater. Behind the street front lay a fifty-six-room hotel, insulating the 1,500-seat theater at the back of the site. Amazingly, the theater has remained intact, enabling the Galveston County Cultural Arts Council's phased restoration of the building between 1975 and 1986 as a performing arts center. Hardy Holzman Pfeiffer Associates of New York City was responsible for the first stage of restoration (1981), completed by San Antonio architect Killis Almond in 1986. The theater preserves a sense of spatial intimacy and immediacy that twentieth-century movie theaters would dispense with.

The east edge of the opera house's street front frames a prospect of Galveston's tallest skyscraper, the twenty-story One Moody Plaza (1971) by Houston architects Neuhaus and Taylor at 1902–1928 Market Street. One Moody Plaza is headquarters of the American National Insurance Company, founded in 1905 by W. L. Moody Jr. and Galveston's largest, locally based business corporation.

Writing Credits

Gerald Moorhead et al.


What's Nearby


Gerald Moorhead et al., "The Grand 1894 Opera House (Grand Opera House and Hotel Grand)", [Galveston, Texas], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Texas

Buildings of Texas: Central, South, and Gulf Coast, Gerald Moorhead and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 415-415.

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