Sunday, May 8, 2016

Galveston Day: The Bishop's Palace

The Bishop's Palace
I love the Houston area.  I desperately needed a weekend getaway.  I regret not having spent anytime in Galveston when I have visited Houston.  So this weekend was going to be a Galveston getaway.

Except that hotels in Galveston are really expensive on weekends.  And Houston is cheap.  And only 45 miles away.  So I opted to sleep in Houston and visit the historic section of Galveston.

As you enter the historic part of Galveston, which is the northwest part of Galveston island, opposite the ocean and around the harbor, there is the giant monument in the middle of Broadway.  It's the Texas War Heroes monument:

It was erected in the spring of 1900.  1900?  That was the year of the Galveston hurricane, the most deadly natural disaster in U.S. history.  The monument appears to have survived.

Another survivor?  The Bishop's Palace!  (And that, my friends, is a segue.)  What caught my eye was this beautiful church on the periphery of the historic district:

It's right across the street from the now-named Bishop's Palace.

The original Sacred Heart church alas did not survive the 1900 hurricane.  This was rebuilt (very magnificently) on its original site.

But let's tour the Bishop's Palace, name for the bishop of the Diocese of Galveston who lived there.

The Bishop's Palace originally was known as the Gresham Castle, named for its original occupant, the Gresham Family, whose patriarch was Walter Gresham.  Mr. Gresham was from King and Queen County in Virginia and he was -- this is very important -- a graduate of the University of Virginia who studied law.

The house was lavish even for its time.  That is the formal dining room.

Beautiful staircase to the second floor.

Mrs. Gresham apparently was quite an accomplished artist. She painted the scene at the top of the mantle.

Exploring some of the other rooms:

Who's that apparition in the mirror?  Oh.  That;s me.

That's looking into the street from the front parlor.

This is an interesting piece of original furniture,  It's a postcard box, for one to organize picture postcards received from around the world.

This is the conservatory.  It was made of zinc.

The phone is not an original furnishing.

Ascending the staircase to the second floor, one is greeted by a stained glass window of Saint Therese.

Second floor bedroom, used by the bishop after the diocese bought the house.

One room was converted into a chapel with a beautiful altar piece.

The house withstood the 1900 hurricane so well that it was a sanctuary that housed storm survivors in the aftermath.  However, today, it is having difficulty surviving the Galveston climate, as salty seaspray -- this far inland -- is wreaking havoc with the palace roof.

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