To visit the Pompeiian Villa call (409) 982-7000. A time will be assigned to you and a tour guide from the Museum of the Gulf Coast (700 Procter) will meet you at the Villa (1953 Lakeshore Dr.).
Normal viewing hours are 9:30am to 3:30pm, Monday-Friday.
Admission: $4 per person.
If you would like to schedule a special viewing at other times, accommodations can sometimes be arranged.
Photography sessions are $75 for two hours.
The Pompeiian Villa was designed by Chicago architects George C. Nimmons and William K. Fellows. It was intended to be reminiscent of the villas in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii, which was destroyed by the eruption of the Mt. Vesuvius volcano in 79 AD.
It was built in 1900 for Isaac Elwood at a cost of over $50,000 (about
1.4 million today). Elwood, of DeKalb, Illinois, was one of the most
successful entrepreneurs who patented and sold his own variant of
barbed wire. Barbed wire in 1900 was big business, as open ranges
throughout the United States were rapidly being fenced in.
Elwood sold the mansion almost immediately following its completion.
He never lived in the house and nothing it contains belonged to him.
His house in Dekalb, Illinois is now a museum.
James Hopkins of the Diamond Match Company bought the home in
1901 and leased it to various parties until 1903. A popular story
claims that his wife was so displeased by the mosquitoes, mud,
humidity, and general inhospitable conditions of early Port Arthur
that she demanded to be returned to the train station
without ever setting foot in the Villa.
Hopkins traded the house in 1903 to one of the people who had been renting it, the manager of the Port Arthur Townsite Company George M. Craig for 10% share of the Texas Company which became Texaco. Chevron purchased Texaco for 36 billion dollars in the year 2000. (61 billion in 2023) Ten percent, the amount of stock Hopkins received would be worth about 6.1 billion today. At one point there were over 500 oil companies in the Golden Triangle, and most went out of business. Craig’s decision at the time was not as ill-considered as it seems today. Craig helped to organize Texaco, was a very successful businessman and leader in the community. He lived in the Pompeiian Villa until his death in 1950.
Following his death, Craig's daughters sold the home to Captain and Mrs. Arne Petersen who lived there until they both died in 1969. The house stood vacant and neglected until 1973 when the Port Arthur Historical Society asked 25 members of the community to put up $1000 each to purchase the dilapidated home. Restoration efforts soon followed, and on May 25, 1973, it was added to the National Registry of Historic Places. The fully restored Pompeiian Villa also has an official Texas Historical Marker and an official historical building medallion.
Group tour arrangements should be made in advance. Group tour size is limited to 12.
If your group is larger, the Museum does ask that you break into 2 smaller groups.
Call (409) 982-7000 at the Museum of the Gulf Coast.
Available Monday-Friday from 9:30am - 3:30pm (Call 982-7000 to schedule a visit)
Closed Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays.
THE VILLA FOLLOWS THE MUSEUM HOLIDAY SCHEDULE. SEE LINK BELOW.