On January 7, 1859, James Moreau Brown bought the future site of Ashton Villa in Galveston. Its 13-inch thick brick walls withstood the 1900 Galveston hurricane. In 1968, the Galveston Historical Foundation led efforts to buy and restore the showplace.
Built in 1859, Ashton Villa in Galveston, Texas, is one of the country's greatest Italian mansions. (Photo: James C. Massey)
The 1838 Michel B. Menard house, the oldest extant residence on Galveston Island, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The home's history is fascinating, though sad, which may be why I've always adored it. Originally called The Oaks, and then renamed Old Chaparral by its second owner, the house survived the 1900 Storm only to be left abandoned and crumbling by the middle 20th C. It's been restored and now serves as a museum house operated by the Galveston Historical…