Bishop's Palace, Galveston

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Bishop's Palace
Colonel Walter Gresham House, 1402 Broadway, Galveston (Galveston County, Texas).jpg
Bishop's Palace in 1967
Bishop's Palace is located in Texas
Bishop's Palace
Bishop's Palace
Bishop's Palace is located in the United States
Bishop's Palace
Bishop's Palace
Location1402 Broadway,
Galveston, Texas
Coordinates29°18′17″N 94°46′55″W / 29.30472°N 94.78194°W / 29.30472; -94.78194Coordinates: 29°18′17″N 94°46′55″W / 29.30472°N 94.78194°W / 29.30472; -94.78194
Area0.4 acres (0.16 ha)
Built1887 (1887)-1893 (1893)
ArchitectNicholas J. Clayton
Architectural styleLate Victorian, Eclectic
Website1892 Bishop's Palace
Part ofEast End Historic District (ID75001979[1])
NRHP reference No.70000746[1]
RTHL No.139
Significant dates
Added to NRHPAugust 25, 1970
Designated NHLDCPMay 11, 1976
Designated CPMay 30, 1975
Designated RTHL1967

The Bishop's Palace, also known as Gresham's Castle, is an ornate 19,082 square feet (1,772.8 m2)[2] Victorian-style house, located on Broadway and 14th Street in the East End Historic District of Galveston, Texas.


Bishop's Residence Galveston TX, (postcard c. 1900)

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.[3]

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.[4] 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 UT medical school's Newman Center, which operated in the basement.

The home is estimated to have cost $250,000 at the time;[5] today its value is estimated at over $5.5 million.

The house is now owned by the Galveston Historical Foundation and self-guided tours are available daily. A portion of each admission supports the preservation and restoration of the property.


Circa 1970
View from he West. An atypical view
Lion of St Mark outside Bishop's Palace

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.
  • Servant'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 chose 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 altar 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 boys’ rooms
  • Mrs. Gresham's art studio
  • Additional storage

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. November 2, 2013.
  2. ^ West, Allyn (June 11, 2013). "UNLOADING GALVESTON'S BISHOP'S PALACE". Retrieved March 20, 2015.
  3. ^ Teague, Wells (2000). Calling Texas Home: A Lively Look at What It Means to Be a Texan, p. 96. Wildcat Canyon Press.
  4. ^ McComb, David G. (2002). Galveston: A History, p. 65. University of Texas Press.
  5. ^ "Fun Things to do in Texas".

External links[edit]