Bishop's Palace, Galveston

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Bishop's Palace
Colonel Walter Gresham House, 1402 Broadway, Galveston (Galveston County, Texas).jpg
The Bishop's Palace in Galveston
Location 1402 Broadway
Galveston, Texas, USA
Nearest city Galveston, Texas
Coordinates 29°18′11″N 94°46′56″W / 29.30306°N 94.78222°W / 29.30306; -94.78222Coordinates: 29°18′11″N 94°46′56″W / 29.30306°N 94.78222°W / 29.30306; -94.78222
Built 1887 to 1893
Architect Nicholas J. Clayton
Governing body

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston

Per Houston Chronicle, the Bishop's Palace was purchased by the Historical Foundation in 2013.
NRHP Reference # 70000746
Added to NRHP August 25, 1970
Bishop's Residence Galveston TX, (postcard c. 1900)

The Bishop's Palace, also known as Gresham's Castle, is an ornate Victorian-style house, located on Broadway and 14th Street in the East End Historic District of Galveston, Texas. The American Institute of Architects has listed the home as one of the 100 most significant buildings in the United States, and the Library of Congress has classified it as one of the fourteen most representative Victorian structures in the nation.[citation needed]

The Gresham mansion was made all of stone, and was sturdy enough to withstand the great hurricane of 1900. The Greshams welcomed hundreds of survivors of the hurricane into their home.[1]

The house was built between 1887 and 1893 by Galveston architect Nicholas J. Clayton for lawyer and politician Walter Gresham, his wife Josephine, and their nine children. In 1923 the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galveston purchased the house, and, situated across the street from the Sacred Heart Church, it served as the residence for Bishop Christopher E. Byrne.[2] After the diocesan offices were moved to Houston, the diocese opened the mansion to the public in 1963, with proceeds from tours being used to help fund the Newman Center, operating in the basement, serving Catholic students at the nearby University of Texas Medical Branch.

The home is estimated to have cost $250,000 at the time[1]; today its value is estimated at over $5.5 million.

The Galveston Historical Foundation provides self-guided tours of the house daily. Funding from the tours go to help the preservation and restoration of the house.

Layout[edit]

Bishop's Palace has four floors. The raised basement which once housed the kitchen and servant's areas now contains the store. This basement is followed by three formal floors.

First floor[edit]

  • Entryway
  • Parlor
  • Music Room
  • Rotunda Staircase
  • Library/Office
  • Dining Room - Mrs. Gresham painted the fresco of cherubs on the ceiling.
  • Conservatory
  • Pantry
  • Kitchen - This room was originally just a warming kitchen, but Bishop Byrne expanded the room.
  • Servent's Vestibule - Contains the dumbwaiter and the servant's staircase.
  • Coat Closet - The coat closet is tucked around the back side of the rotunda staircase and contains a Pullman sink from the famed Pullman railcars.

Second floor[edit]

  • Living Room - The Gresham family often listened to music here during the hot summer months.
  • Bishop's Bedroom - This was originally a bedroom of one of the Gresham daughters, but Bishop Byrne choose it for his own with its private balcony and lighting. He converted the closet into a bathroom.
  • Chapel - This was also previously one of the Gresham daughter's bedrooms. When the Diocese moved in, the windows were replaced with stained-glass, and a fresco depicting the four gospel writers was painted on the ceiling. The room was also outfitted with an alter and six prayer kneelers.
  • Mr. Gresham's Room
  • Mrs. Gresham's Room
  • Bathroom - The tub in this bathroom is of note for its three spigots: one for hot, one cold, and one for rainwater.
  • Bedroom for guests or the children's governess.

Third floor[edit]

  • The boy's rooms
  • Mrs. Gresham's art studio
  • Additional storage
Circa 1970

References[edit]

  1. ^ Teague, Wells (2000). Calling Texas Home: A Lively Look at What It Means to Be a Texan, p. 96. Wildcat Canyon Press.
  2. ^ McComb, David G. (2002). Galveston: A History, p. 65. University of Texas Press.

External links[edit]