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  • Writer's pictureJoe Perez

Historic Bell House open for free tours on Saturday


 TEXAS CITY, TX – The Bell House may look like a small house, but it has a big place in history. And this Saturday, June 8, it will be open for free tours, giving people the opportunity to see that history up-close. 

After the Civil War, an African-American community known as The Settlement emerged in Texas City during the Reconstruction era. Unlike many freed slaves, the founding families of the community were landowners and eventually formed a thriving, self-sufficient community. 

The Bell House is the oldest structure in the 1867 Settlement Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 




 The Bell House is the oldest structure in the 1867 Settlement Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

The home was owned by Falvilla Bell, who was the daughter of Settlement founder Calvin Bell. 

Calvin made history as the first freed slave to register a cattle brand in Galveston County. There is a replica on display inside the home; the original is on display in the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. 

The interior may look unfinished, but this was intentional, as a complete restoration would have covered over important, original architectural detailing. Many of the walls have remnants of the original wallpapers, and some even have remnants of the newspapers used as a base for the wallpapers. 

Much of the wood in the home is mismatched because it is reclaimed wood. After hurricanes, the family would collect lumber scraps to use in the home. 

There are no furnishings, but there are interpretative panels all throughout the home, detailing the history of the Settlement and its founding families. 

The Bell House is located at 117 S. Bell Drive in Texas City. It will be open for free tours this Saturday, June 8 from 1-3 p.m 

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