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  • Texas | Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories

    A Lesson in the Sociology of Galveston Commerce

    by Bill Cherry
    Since it was designed by famed New York architect Stanford White and built for George and Magnolia Sealy in 1889, the mansion on the northeast corner of 25th Street and Broadway has been the most photographed home in Galveston. It is known as The Open Gates.

    Twelve blocks away was the very modest home of Daniel Serrato and his family.

    Mr. George was in the banking and cotton business while Mr. Daniel and his wife made their living making and selling fresh homemade hot tamales from a push cart.

    Every day, Mr. Daniel would roll his cart with the freshly made hot tamales in a tin box, wrapped in starched white table cloths, from his home to the driveway in front of Open Gates.

    There heíd park his blue hot tamale cart, and heíd sit on a folding stool in the shade of the oak and oleander trees. As night would fall, Mr. Daniel would light the kerosene railroad lantern that hung under the cartís canopy.

    Daniel Serrato did that for at least thirty years, probably longer. And islanders and tourists bought his fresh hot tamales by the thousands.

    Interestingly, the Sealy family thought nothing of having a street vendor operating his business at the entrance to their famous home.

    When Mr. Daniel died, his children donated his famous cart to the Galveston County Museum. Itís on display on the mezzanine for all to see.

    Isnít it interesting that from the corner of 25th and Broadway, two families made important, memorable and honorable contributions to Galveston business?

    George Sealy did it through his familyís banks, and its cotton compress, and their huge donations to the famous John Sealy Hospital.

    And Mr. Daniel did it with his hot tamale push cart. He clothed and fed his family, and brought happiness to the thousands who where his reliable patrons.

    The Sealysí and the Serratosí important memories are preserved side by side among the treasures of the Galveston County Museum. Thatís as it should be.



    November 6 , 2011 column
    Copyright William S. Cherry. All rights reserved
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    Bill Cherry, a Dallas Realtor and free lance writer was a longtime columnist for "The Galveston County Daily News." His book, Bill Cherry's Galveston Memories, has sold thousands, and is still available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon.com and other bookstores.
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