Situated between two wharves and close to the Customs House, this site was an ideal location for early Galveston businesses. Retail and wholesale merchants began trading here in hardware, jewelry, real estate, crockery, tobacco, shoes, boots, general dry goods, paints and oils as early as 1839. The row also housed insurance companies, attorneys, cotton factors, newspapers, restaurants and saloons.
Today, Old Galveston Square is composed of four historic buildings and one contemporary structure. The oldest of these is the E. S. Wood Building, at the eastern end of the row. The Wood Building was completed in 1857, as a part of the continuous facade formed by a row of buildings that lined this entire block of The Strand. The buildings that survive today were replacements for buildings lost in a fire in February 1870. The Wood Building was partially damaged and required extensive repairs. The additional buildings completed in 1871 were the T. W. House, Henry Runge and John Berlocher Buildings.
The four historic buildings are constructed of brick with a plaster facade. The brick piers of the three buildings on the west end of the row are clad with cast-iron storefront. Pilasters on the front elevation delineate the position of dividing walls between the buildings. The running parapet is embellished with recessed panels. Second and third story windows on the Strand elevation are the original "four over four" windows and each has a plaster hood mold. The building interior retains the original cast-iron structural columns and much
of the original wood framing and flooring.
The buildings comprising this Commercial Row were incorporated into a single business house by Blum Hardware in 1904, Black Hardware Company occupied the building from 1917 to 1966, Flood and Calvert, ship chandlers, operated here from 1966 to 1982. In 1982, a developer acquired the property and began an extensive redevelopment of the building including the addition of contemporary interior elements, a glass conservatory and a massive sculpture on the west portion of the building.
George and Cynthia Mitchell purchased the property in 1987, and continued restoration.