I Dream of Galveston: Opera House, Flight Museum & more

Following are more of our favorite Galveston attractions…

The Grand 1894 Opera House

The Grand 1894 Opera House. (Credit: runtrails.net)

One of the few remaining theaters of its era in Texas, The Grand, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. As further recognition of its importance to the citizens of Texas, in 1993 the 73rd Texas Legislature proclaimed The Grand “The Official Opera House of Texas”.

The eclectic roster of entertainers who have performed here includes Sarah Bernhardt, Al Jolson, the Marx Brothers, Bill Cosby, and Ray Charles.

After a stint as the largest theater in Texas, the opera house underwent a $7 million award-winning restoration in the 1970s that reclaimed its original splendor.

The Grand presents a full schedule of performing artists year-round.

Location: 2020 Post Office Street

Information: (409) 763-7173 or (800) 821-1894

Website: thegrand.com

Lone Star Flight Museum

Blue Angel at Texas Aviation Hall of Fame/Lone Star Flight Museum at Galveston. (Credit: Will Auen/blueangels.org)

A huge hanger houses an extensive and impressive collection of restored WWII
fighters, bombers, and other aircraft, including a replica of the famous B-17
Thunderbird “Flying Fortress”, which returned from an unheard of 116 bombing
missions.

The Aviation Hall of Fame, home of the Lone Star Flight Museum, is located on a former military airbase that is now operated as a general airport. The Hall of Fame, which opened in 1999, houses a rare collection of historically significant aircraft, including fighters, bombers, and liaison trainers that have been restored to flying condition by volunteers. More than 40 aircraft are on display.

The Texas Aviation Hall of Fame/Lone Star Flight Museum complex is located next to Moody Gardens at the Galveston International Airport at Scholes Field.

Admission: $8.00; seniors $5.00

Location: 2002 Terminal Drive

Information: (409) 740-7722 or (888) FLY-LSFM (359-5736)

Website: lsfm.org

1838 Michel B. Menard Home

One of the founders of the City of Galveston, Michel B. Menard arrived in Texas in 1829. He was born near Montreal in 1805 and entered the fur trading company of John Jacob Astor at the age of 14. Menard arrived in Nacogodoches in the 1830s and began speculating in Texas land.

The 1838 Michel B. Menard House, Galveston’s oldest surviving residential dwelling. (Credit: galvestonhistory.org)

Because land was only granted to Mexican-born Texans at that time, many of Menard’s land deals were made by Juan Seguin, a Mexican citizen who eventually fought under Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto. Seguin purchased 4,600 acres at the eastern end of Galveston Island on behalf of Menard in December 1836. With this claim, Menard formed the Galveston City Company with Samuel May Williams and other prominent Texas businessmen in 1838. Galveston was incorporated a year later.

The house, built in 1838 and the oldest on the island, is in the Greek revival style. The furniture and furnishings, with few exceptions, all date from the first half of the 19th century.

Michel Menard died in 1856 and his descendants occupied the house until 1879. In 1880, the house was bought by Edwin N. Ketchum, police chief during the 1900 Storm. The Ketchum family owned the home until the 1970s.

During the early 1990s, the house was in such disrepair, it was threatened with demolition by the City of Galveston. The current owners purchased the house and spent years researching, repairing, and reconstructing it. Through a partnership with Galveston Historical Foundation, the house is operated as a museum and is available for private events.

Location: 1604 33rd Street

Information: (409) 762-3933

Please Note: This is the third in a series of stories on favorite Galveston attractions

Texas Spoken Friendly

The universe is filled with wonder and magical things.

Worth Pondering…
Galveston, oh Galveston, I am so afraid of dying
Before I dry the tears she’s crying
Before I watch your sea birds flying in the sun
At Galveston, at Galveston.

—Glen Campbell

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