History of the Charles W. Adams Mansion

The mansion was built in 1860 in what is now known as the Silk Stocking Historic District of Galveston, Texas and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Adams, who had become a successful merchant in Galveston, commissioned the house to be built by Thomas Massey League. Mr. Adams moved to Texas in the mid-1800s and had business ventures in both Houston and Galveston. He lived in Galveston until the early 1880s and passed away in Massachusetts at the age of 74.

The two-story mansion was designed in the Greek Revival style of the 19th century with the vernacular center passage form and full facade double galleries graced by colossal order classical columns. Drawing inspiration from local examples including the Galveston Custom House (1854-61) and the George Ball House (1857), such vernacular interpretations of the Greek Revival style remained popular in the Silk Stocking District into the 1870s. As a result, more than 60% of buildings in the district feature elements of this style. The house was built with generous two full-width front porches graced by classical columns, a large kitchen in rear to keep heat out of living quarters, and the symmetrical center passage plan incorporates a hallway.

The mansion survived the 1900 storm which devastated Galveston, although the first floor was submerged in five feet of water. Its stout construction enabled the house to emerge intact once new plaster and paint were applied. In 1921 the house was turned from its original Tremont (23rd) Street frontage to face Avenue M to escape the commercial redevelopment along that street. From the 1930s to 1990, the home was operated as a boarding house. New owners updated it in the early 1990s and it became a bed and breakfast inn. The current owners purchased the home in 2020 and it is now used for weddings, events, retreats, and lodging.

Thomas Massey League

T.M. League was the builder of the home formerly known as the Charles W. Adams Mansion and is now known as Adams-League Historic Inn. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1810 and moved to Galveston in 1846 with his wife and their children. League was one of the deed holders of the Hendley building on The Strand, owned his own wharf, and had numerous real estate dealings. He owned several large lots on the southeast corner of Avenue M and 23rd Street as well as four lots on the opposite side of 23rd. In 1859-60, he constructed a massive red brick mansion on the southeast corner lots at 1304 Tremont which was one of the first brick structures in Galveston. Mr. League’s mansion was called a “lovely one” and was on the outskirts of town with almost no buildings beyond it. In 1860 he constructed a smaller home on the four lots across 23rd Street, opposite to his home. Mr. League sold his home at 1304 Tremont in 1863 to Colonel Jonathan D. Waters, who operated the home as a hotel. After Colonel Waters’ death in 1872, the mansion was sold to Colonel Moody and became known as the Moody Mansion. After Colonel Moody’s death in 1920, the home was sold to Galveston’s Roman Catholic Diocese and became Kirwin High School (for boys). It was torn down in 1942 and a new campus, O’Connell College Preparatory School, was built. O’Connell High School continues to be located on opposite corner of from the Adams- League Historic Inn at 23rd and Avenue M.

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