Garten Verein and Kempner Park

Garten Verein

The wedding and reception will be held at the Garten Verein and Kempner Park (located behind the Garten Verein).

1880 Garten Verein
2704 Avenue O
Galveston, TX 77550
(click here for directions)

Paul found this place during one of his many expeditions to rub historical markers. His own unfashionable Germanness matched that of the building (and the rest will soon be history).


In February 1876, a group of German businessmen organized the Galveston Garten Verein (“garden club”) as a social club for family and friends. Only Germans or German speakers could hold stock in the club, but others could petition for membership. The group purchased the five-acre homestead of Robert Mills, a prominent Galveston businessman, and laid out the property as a park, with a clubhouse (Mills’ former home), lawns, gardens and walkways, bowling alleys, tennis courts, croquet grounds, playgrounds and a dancing pavilion. The Garten Verein’s tiered dancing pavilion, built in 1880, is the only one of the structures to survive the 1900 Storm (though it required extensive rebuilding).

After World War I, when overt Germanness had fallen out of fashion in America, a steady decline in membership in the Garten Verein led the remaining members in 1923 to sell the property to Stanley Kempner. He donated it to the city as Kempner Park, dedicated to his parents, Eliza Seinsheimer and Harris Kempner.