Galveston, Texas~ The Oleander Hotel
As early as the 1930’s The Green Book listed The Oleander Hotel for offering rooms to Blacks in Galveston. The block of 421, was thriving with Black Owned businesses. The Second floor was the hotel, but the Green Book listed several locations at this address and many different years. After researching the island we learned that the Hotel was still standing, and would have been considered to be in a not so desired area of the island at one time. There was also the Lincoln Theater, Imperial Barbershop, Mitchell’s Restaurant, and Post Office near the hotel listed in The Green Book.
The 1913 two story building is now an Antique Store owned by Scott & Holly Hensen. The Hensen’s were full of information about the area and relationship to The Green Book. We were excited to discuss the buildings history and recapturing what it would have been like for a Green Book Traveler coming for a visit during the Jim Crow Era. The Hotel was on the second floor and consisted of twenty eight 10 x 10 rooms with a community bathroom and kitchen. Below the hotel were several black owned businesses. A Dr. Mosley was a well known Black Dr. in Galveston that held his practice out of a location in this building. Next door to the hotel was the Lincoln Theater. The hotel also offered a restaurant. Now the current building is filled with fun antiques in every direction. The rooms are quaint and the building is in a industrial area of the bustling Downtown Galveston. The owners told us stories of Sailors and Rail men staying at this location as well as families. It did take a turn for the "Red Light District" after the Depression. The fact that this building still exist and was built in 1913 is an amazing site to walk thru. The rooms are still separated and numbered above the doors. Some rooms are set up with beds like a room. We enjoy and thank everyone at the Antique Warehouse for the information and very informative walk-thru.