In 1988, the Strand/Mechanic Historic District became Galveston’s first locally-designated commercial historic distict. The approximately 13 block district encompasses Galveston’s primary commercial area from the 1850s through the early 1900s. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a National Historic Landmark. National Historic Landmarks are nationally significant historic places designated by the Secretary of the Interior because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.
Initially, a separate review board was created to review improvement projects in the Strand/Mechanic Historic District. Projects within the district are now reviewed by the citywide Landmark Commission.
Often referred to as “the Wall Street of the Southwest,” the Strand/Mechanic area was the economic lifeblood of this 19th century port city. Businesses in the district included banks, ware-houses and merchants that supported and managed the heavy traffic of goods coming into and leaving the city. Cotton was the major export but building materials, produce and other dry goods also flowed through the district.
The historic Strand runs from 20th to 25th Street. Most buildings were built between 1875 and 1899, when it was a prosperous business area adjacent to the wharves. It’s Gothic, High Victorian, French and Italianate buildings now house shops, restaurants, offices and apartments. It is one of Galveston’s most popular tourist destinations.