Ashton Villa, built in the mid-1800s was the first brick house in Texas. Although it survived the 1900 hurricane and a plan to demolish the building was stopped by the Historical Foundation, the last hurricane and flooding did so much damage, that restoration has been put on hold. There are no immediate plans to re-open the house to the public. The ballroom and some of the rooms are used for functions and the gardens can still be viewed (entrance through the Visitors Center). The wrought iron fence around the house was once 3 feet taller, but the bottom half was covered when the island was raised to prevent flooding from storm surges.