The Tremont House is a Galveston tradition that dates back to 1839. The original Tremont House, built in the same year that Galveston was founded, was one of the island’s most sought-after destinations. Located at the corner of Postoffice and Tremont Streets, the sturdy two-story building was the largest and finest hotel in the Republic of Texas.
The Tremont House drew visitors from across the region, America and the world. Elegant Victorians came to dance at grand balls, and soldiers from three wars returned to homecoming banquets. Sam Houston delivered his last public speech. Cotton merchants haggled over deals, and Sioux chiefs sampled Southern cuisine. Six American presidents and foreign ministers from France and England came to call. During the Civil War, Confederate, then Union, soldiers made a home in the hotel.
In June 1865, The Tremont House faced its first trial – a great fire that raged in the Strand District for days and destroyed entire city blocks. For more than five years, the beloved landmark lay in ruins. Then several of the island’s business leaders organized a company to build a new hotel on the ashes of the old.
The grand new Tremont House was a magnificent, four-story structure that rivaled anything in the South. Noted architect Nicholas Clayton, who designed the hotel, went on to design many of Galveston’s most distinguished and beautiful buildings. The second Tremont House opened in 1872 and for years attracted dignitaries from around the world.
In 1900, disaster struck again. A monster hurricane barreled into the Gulf of Mexico and landed a direct hit on the island. As the economy slipped into depression, the once-grand hotel feel into ruin and the second Tremont House was demolished in 1928.
But the legendary hotel was destined to rise again in a new location. In 1985, George and Cynthia Mitchell acquired the architecturally lavish Leon & H. Blum Building and began its transformation in the third Tremont House. Once the South’s premiere wholesale dry goods concern, the 1879 building is now a remarkable hotel that captures the spirit and elegance of its predecessors. When the hotel opened in 1985 it was the first major hotel to open in downtown Galveston in sixty years. It was a catalyst for the revitalization of Galveston’s historic downtown. Standing in the heart of the wonderfully revitalized Strand National Historic Landmark District and newly designated Downtown Cultural Arts District, The Tremont House is now surrounded by shops, galleries, restaurants, lofts, offices and museums tracing the vibrant history of the island.
The Tremont House joined the elite ranks of Wyndham’s hotels in 1996.