In 1873 John Parker Davie had erected on this corner a four-story sixty-room hotel. Originally the Cosmopolitan, it was renamed the Washington the year after the famous old Washington Hotel at 21st and Mechanic Street burned down in the fire of 1877.
The structure, as pictured here, was a late Greek Revival four-story brick building with simple classic details. The exterior brick walls were stuccoed and scored to resemble stone and sprinkled with marble dust. On the ground floor were French doors with fanlight transoms set in arches. The narrow windows of the upper floors were topped with plain hoodmolds. The entrance to' the hotel was on Mechanic Street.
"On the surface an example of very late Galveston Greek Revival, the Washington Hotel is in fact a combination of styles. How did it happen that a building of this size and importance was built in a style of almost fifty years old...
Whatever the answer, the Washington Hotel cements and reflects the love affair with the Greek Revival seen everywhere in the Galveston vernacular architecture of the time - the houses built by carpenters in what was known as the "Galveston style," wrote Howard Barnstone in The Galveston That Was.
John Parker Davie, a native of Wales, was a pioneer businessman of Galveston. A tinner and coppersmith by trade, he came to Galveston in 1838 and started in the hardware business with W.R. Wilson in a small wooden building on the east side of Tremont between Strand and Mechanic Street, the same building where the first issues of The Galveston
Daily News were printed. When the partnership was severed in 1842, Davie continued the business and built on this site one of the first brick buildings in the city. Here Borden's Condensed Milk was first sold. That building was razed to make room for the hotel. Next to the hotel on the east side was the four-story building that housed the J.P. Davie Hardware Company. This building, in contrast to the hotel, utilized exposed brick in its facade and decorative cast iron on the first floor.
Largely vacant since 1973, the two buildings were bought in 1978 by the Revolving Fund of the Galveston Historical Foundation and sold with deed restrictions to George and Cynthia Mitchell in 1982. After surviving Hurricane Alicia, both structures were severely damaged by a fire on August 26, 1983. In 1986, the Mitchells undertook to reconstruct the hotel and restore the J.P. Davie Building.