||The East End Historic District, which initiated development in the area immediately east of Galveston’s Downtown Business District, saw its busiest period of construction during the last two decades of the 19th century. Many of the city’s government and business leaders built large and architecturally significant houses, including county treasurer James Stephen Waters.
Waters was born February 13, 1854, in New Orleans and moved to Galveston in 1872. In 1886, Waters partnered with Charles M. Mason to form a fire and marine insurance agency. That same year, Waters was elected treasurer of Galveston County, an office he held for the next 16 years – a period during which Galveston saw great economic growth and activity. In November 1889, Waters married Violet Hinkle and the couple had three sons: James Jr., William and Fenelon.
In January of 1891, Waters bought lot 11 on Church Street. The house was designed in the Victorian style by Henry Collier Cooke of the firm Bourgeois Nitchner & Cooke. Curved porches and the inset front entrance were popular architectural elements in Galveston at the time. The house also featured a roof tower that was removed in the mid-20th century due to roof drainage issues and restored in 2015 based on historic photos. An eastern addition to the house was built in 1899 to accommodate the growing family.
After James, Sr. died in 1923, Violet, Fenelon and his wife, Constance, lived in the house. After Fenelon and Constance moved out, William, Sr. and his wife, Haydee, moved in. After William, Sr.’s death, his widow, Haydee, lived in the house until Hurricane Ike in 2008. The property remained in the Waters family until 2014. It remains one of the best examples of Victorian architecture in the east end.
RECORDED TEXAS HISTORIC LANDMARK – 2016