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Galveston in Galveston County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
 

Berlocher Row

1858

 
 
Berlocher Row Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 14, 2018
1. Berlocher Row Marker
Inscription. One of the earliest commercial blocks in Galveston, this row of three three-story brick buildings was constructed for John Berlocher by builder John Brown. The easternmost building, 2309 Mechanic, was erected in 1858. The westernmost, 2315 Mechanic, was built soon after, as both appear on the Map of Galveston, Texas showing The Rebel Line of Works, 1865.

The architectural style is Greek Revival. Originally the red brick with 1/16 inch mortar joints, similar to that used in the Hendley Building on the Strand, was exposed. The buildings also had finely detailed sill, labels, and lintels of cast iron.

John Berlocher, a native of Switzerland, was an early settler and wholesale merchant in Galveston who owned commercial buildings on the Strand and Mechanic Street. He built four of the first brick commercial buildings in the city. Three of his buildings were on the Strand, all on the same site, and were destroyed by successive fires. During the Battle of Galveston, January 1, 1863, his building on the Strand was in the line of fire from the 11-inch guns on the Federal ship ”Owasco” and was damaged by cannon fire.

These disasters ruined him financially and in 1876 this row on Mechanic Street was sold to Gustave Oppermann in a Trustee's sale. It remained in the Opperman family until 1903,
Berlocher Row Marker (<i>tall view; looking west along Mechanic Street; building on left</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 14, 2018
2. Berlocher Row Marker (tall view; looking west along Mechanic Street; building on left)
when it was sold to Mistrot Bros. & Co., a wholesale and retail dry goods and clothing firm which then owned the Leon & H. Blum Building across the street.

A drug store, a crockery shop, a coffee and spice company, various business offices, a feed store, a lodge chapter, and a dance studio have occupied the buildings over the years. After the Battle of Galveston the building was used by the Confederate Army as a Guardhouse. In 1868 the United States Internal Revenue had an office here. Neidermann's Galveston Builder's Supply Company was located in the west building from 1923 to 1943, followed by J. A. Neidermann's antique store until 1979.

In 1980 a fire damaged the upper floors and roof of the west building and it was bought by the Revolving Fund of the Galveston Historical Foundation. George and Cynthia Mitchell soon purchased the building, subject to protective deed restrictions, and have undertaken its restoration.
 
Location. 29° 18.363′ N, 94° 47.681′ W. Marker is in Galveston, Texas, in Galveston County. Marker is on Mechanic Street west of 23rd Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is located on the sidewalk, directly in front of the subject Berlocher Row Building. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2313 Mechanic Street, Galveston TX 77550, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers.
Berlocher Row Marker (<i>side 2; looking east along Mechanic Street; building on right</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 14, 2018
3. Berlocher Row Marker (side 2; looking east along Mechanic Street; building on right)
At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Leon & H. Blum Co. Building (a few steps from this marker); The Tremont Houses (a few steps from this marker); Davidson Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Mardi Gras in Galveston (within shouting distance of this marker); Leon & H. Blum Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Powell Arch (within shouting distance of this marker); Rice, Baulard & Company Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Washington Hotel (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Galveston.
 
Also see . . .
1. Berlocher Buildings I and II. Built in 1858, this row of 3-story Greek Revival buildings was constructed for John Berlocher, leading to one of the earliest commercial blocks in Galveston. Now housing retailers on the first floor and hotel suites on the second and third floors, the Berlocher Building originally had its red brick with 1/16 inch mortar joints exposed. Located in downtown Galveston, across the street from the Tremont House Hotel, the building has finely detailed sills, labels and lintels of cast iron. The Berlocher building can be found on the corner with north facing operable doors visible from 23rd Street and Mechanic Street. (Submitted on December 18, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. John Berlocher: The Liquor and Lumber Dealer
Marker detail: Historic Berlocher Row photograph (<i>on marker side 2</i>) image. Click for full size.
courtesy of Rosenberg Library
4. Marker detail: Historic Berlocher Row photograph (on marker side 2)
. John Berlocher was born in St. Gall, Switzerland in 1823, but by the age of twenty he immigrated to Galveston. Berlocher opened a store in Galveston selling the types of items in high demand in the growing city; liquor, food, and lumber. Advertising gin, ales, whisky, and various sundries alongside cedar posts and Pensacola pine, the business was very successful. Using his newly acquired wealth, he built multiple buildings downtown. Although there were rewards to being a businessman in early Galveston, it also had its risks. Robbers broke into his building in 1852. In 1856, an arsonist set fire to the Strand, seriously damaging his building. Afterward, he moved his lumber yard and built four new, brick buildings located at 2309-2315 Mechanic which still stand today. In 1858 he installed a steam-driven pipes that fed a make-shift sprinkler system. Even so, Galveston’s frequent fires damaged his businesses three more times. (Submitted on December 18, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Categories. ArchitectureIndustry & CommerceWar, US Civil
 
Berlocher Row Building (<i>east end of Berlocher Row as viewed from Mechanic Street</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 14, 2018
5. Berlocher Row Building (east end of Berlocher Row as viewed from Mechanic Street)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 29, 2018. This page originally submitted on December 16, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 32 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on December 18, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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