Front elevation-credit Fondren Library-Rice Univ.

Front elevation-credit Fondren Library-Rice Univ.

Historical photo showing Watkins (left) and Cohen's laying the corner stone

Historical photo showing Watkins (left) and Cohen's laying the corner stone

Tea party at Cohen house ~1925-credit Fondren Library-Rice Univ

Tea party at Cohen house ~1925-credit Fondren Library-Rice Univ

Dedication Shield (Cartouche) carved by Peter Mansbendel in 1927 in Walnut.

Dedication Shield (Cartouche) carved by Peter Mansbendel in 1927 in Walnut.

Dedication Shield (Cartouche) carved by Peter Mansbendelin 1927 in Walnut.

Dedication Shield (Cartouche) carved by Peter Mansbendelin 1927 in Walnut.

Example Frame

Cohen House at Rice University

Architect/Builder: W.W. Watkins
Year: 1927
Style: Classical cartouche
Areas of Significance: art
City: Houston

Robert and Agnes Cohen House at Rice University

Robert and Agnes Cohen House was given to the faculty of Rice University through the generosity of their son George Cohen and his wife Esther in 1927. George S. Cohen was born on Galveston Island, November 14, 1885, to Robert I. and Agnes Cohen. As a young boy, Cohen worked in his father’s store and as a cabin boy or deckhand on steamers sailing between Galveston and New York. He was educated at Ball Public High School in Galveston and later at Peeksill Military Academy in New York, but he left college to pursue a career in business. He went to work at every major department store in New York, as well as a few smaller stores, to gain business experience. Cohen returned to Galveston in 1904 to again work in his father’s store.

Three years later, he and his father became business partners and they eventually  bought Foley Bros. Dry Goods in 1917. After its purchase by the Cohens, the store’s sales volume increased by  50% annually for several years.By 1927, it was Houston’s largest department store in size and volume of business.George Cohen became head of Foley’s, which was still one of Houston’s leading department stores in 1945. Cohen married Esther Regina Meyer (also from Galveston) in 1921. He and his wife gave several large, unrestricted gifts for loans and scholarships to Rice University. He donated $125,000 to Rice to erect a faculty club in honor of his parents, Robert and Agnes Cohen. Cohen House was finished in 1927, and a new wing was added to it in 1959. He was also the President of Nehoc Land Company, a supporter of the Houston Symphony Society, and board member of the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. He chartered and brought to Houston its first passenger liner from Europe in 1925 and helped develop the first airline connections for the city. George Cohen died at the age of 86.

credit: Fondren Library-Rice University
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