In 1873, Edward Sylvester paid W.C. Crookshank to build a side-gabled cottage with galleries that ran the length of the north and south sides of the house. Originally, there was a small building at the back of the lot most likely used as a kitchen. Sylvester and his wife Lydia lived in the house for several years before they sold it to Powhatan and Mattie (Campbell) Wren.
Powhatan Wren was born in Powhatan County, Virginia in 1842 and moved to Galveston by 1867. He worked for the Galveston, Houston & Harrisburg Railroad as a freight agent, and later as a city clerk and county clerk, and as chief clerk of the U.S. Customs House. To make his home large enough for his family, which included six children, Wren hired Robert B. Garrett in 1885 to enlarge, remodel and update the house with Victorian details to its present form. The house has kept its appearance since that time.
The 1900 hurricane obliterated most of the neighborhoods between Broadway and the Gulf of Mexico, but this house survived. After the city completed construction on the first section of the seawall in 1904, workers raised the house so fill could be pumped under the structure. The house remained in the family until 1921, then passed through a series of owners and divided into a duplex in the 1930s, when leaseholders began to open businesses in
the lower level. The structure remained rental property through many of the subsequent years. Located in Galveston's historic East End, the eclectic styled house features a side-gabled roof, shiplap wood siding, a gallery porch and central door with sidelights.
Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 2007
Marker is property of the State of Texas