A Magical Island Kingdom ™
Historic Home Restoration
Many non-profit groups, such as The Galveston Historical Foundation, and individual philanthropists have played a big part in saving the historic houses and buildings in Galveston, but the extent of the restoration effort that created The Magical Island Kingdom would not have been possible without the private individuals who have restored hundreds of houses and buildings. In fact, the basic building block, of what made this magical city, is the loving restoration of one house or building at a time, by their owners. We owe a great deal to those who invest in these properties, and do this work, because without their efforts this would be a very different place!
Residents and visitors often notice houses and buildings that are under restoration, but by that time, they have usually already missed the beginning stages, and they do not have access to what's going on inside the property. Unless you restore an historic structure yourself, it is very difficult to get the opportunity to see, experience, and appreciate every step of the process! This page will change all that, because it will be covering the step-by-step restoration of the 1899 Edward Williams House at 2218 Avenue P.
2218 Avenue P before the start of restoration.
This property-tax document confirms that this house
was built by Edward Williams in June 1899
(see lower left corner), making it a 1900 Storm survivor!
Standing in its place on Avenue P.
One of the "neighbors" stands guard over the house.
Note the second door (to the left) in the front of the house,
and the overgrown vegetation in the yard.
Like the subject of many restoration efforts, this two-story frame house has been severely neglected for decades, and will require a complete overhaul! Houses usually end up in this sad state either by being abandoned for many years, before a new owner undertakes the restoration, or because the resident owner cannot afford maintenance, and allows the house to "go to pot". This property fell into severe disrepair for the latter reason, before it was recently purchased.
2218 Avenue P was acquired by our good friend, local entrepreneur, and real-estate investor, Gary Hancock, on 04 November 2005. He is allowing TheRealGalveston.com unprecedented access to the renovation process over the coming weeks, months and years. For this reason, we will all have the opportunity to look over Gary's shoulder, and watch him restore this tarnished gem to its former splendor!
This was originally a single-family dwelling, but it has been converted to a duplex by walling off the stairs, and cutting a second door into the front of the house, to provide private access to what is now a separate upstairs apartment. Part of the restoration process will be to re-open access to the stairs from the first floor, and to close off the second front door, in order to convert the house back to a single-family residence.
At the time of the purchase, there were four sheds in the back yard in various states of decay, disrepair and collapse; the landscaping was overgrown to the point where it resembled a jungle, an addition on the back of the house was collapsing in some places, and the roof leaked like a sieve!
Two of the sheds in the backyard.
There is an addition on the back that is collapsing.
Gary's first move was to clean up the yard. This meant trimming away huge amounts of overgrown trees and shrubs that became very large piles of limbs, in front of the house, for the garbageman to haul to the dump. Three of the four sheds were collapsing, and needed to be torn down. During the demolition of one, a raccoon was dislodged from its home, and provided a big surprise to the crew as she came flying out! There was also a wide array of "junk", that had accumulated in the yard, after decades of apathy by the previous owner.
The next step was to organize and dispose of all of the "junk" that the previous owner had collected inside the house. Some was sold at yard sales, some was kept for future use, and much of it headed to the dump along with the yard waste and trimmings.
Tour of the first floor
This is what it looked like right after Gary took possession of the house. The hardwood floors have been covered in some places, and the wallpaper-over-cheesecloth walls have been painted over, or covered with sheet rock, or paneling in most areas. There is widespread water damage from the leaky roof, and mold is growing in almost every room.
Front door detail.
Front hallway. Great hardwood floors!
The stairs are hidden behind the wall to the left.
Linoleum covers the hardwood floor.
This will be pulled up!
The bathroom window has been broken, and
there is extensive water damage around the frame.
It probably needs a new toilet!
Looks like water damage all around the tub.
There is extensive water damage all throughout
the addition, and lots of mold!
Water damage in the bedroom. Leaks have
come all the way down from the second floor.
French doors into the bedroom are in good shape!
Tour of the second floor
The Second floor had been turned into a separate apartment, by sealing off the stairs, cutting a door into the front of the house, for private access to the stairs, and by adding a kitchen and bathroom. This floor hasn't been used much in recent years, and has more water damage and mold than the first floor from the leaky roof.
The paneling on the left side of the stairs is heavily
buckled; probably due to water damage. The wall
to the right seals off the original access to the first floor.
First room at the top of the stairs, with access to attic.
This room shows the original interior. Wide planks made
up the walls. They were covered by cheesecloth to "smooth"
the cracks between the boards, and then wallpaper was
pasted over the cheesecloth. The same type of boards
were also used for the ceiling, and then covered with
acoustic tiles in recent years.
Close up of walls with wallpaper peeling off.
Lots of clutter!!
Most rooms have paneling covering the original wallpaper.
Lots of water damage on this floor!
The small part of the addition that extends to this
floor is in a state of total collapse. You can see the
sky through the ceiling!!
Bathroom. There is a major leak in the roof in here!
Leaks in the pipes have rotted out the floor.
Close up of damage.
The first projects after the purchase of this property were the basic tasks of cleaning up the yard, and the inside of the house. After 2-3 weeks, it was possible for Gary to move in, but the roof needed to be fixed as soon as possible, to halt the water damage, and mold build up. Unfortunately, a major storm hit on 26 November, and the roofers were not scheduled to start until the 28th, so water was running all over and through the house; just as it has been doing for a long time!
The old roof was covered with asbestos "slate" tiles nailed
right to the wooden planks that make up the roof. These had
to be stripped off before the new roof could be nailed on.
The pile of tiles stripped off the roof grows!
The front of the roof has now been stripped bare of the old tiles. Note the 5' x 5' square right under the two foam pads. There had been a hole in this roof for a dormer or widow's walk at one time!
The 5' x 5' square is more visible in this shot.
The tar paper goes on.
Part of the roof still shows the old tiles.
Another project; replacing rotten beams!
GHF Preservation and Conservation
GHF Preservation Resource Center