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The Bishop's Palace- Galveston, Texas


 The Bishop's Palace-
also known as Gresham's Castle,
is an ornate 19,082 square feet Victorian-style house, 
located on Broadway and 14th Street
in the East End Historic District of Galveston, Texas. 
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.
The house was built between 1887 and 1893 
by Galveston architect  Nicholas J. Clayton 
for lawyer and politician  Walter Grisham, his wife Josephine, 
and their nine children. 
In 1923 the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galveston 
purchased the house situated across the street 
from the Sacred Heart Church. 
It served as the residence for Bishop Christopher E. Byrne. 
After the diocesan offices were moved to Houston, 
the diocese opened the mansion to the public in 1963.
The home is estimated to have cost $250,000 at the time,
today its value is estimated at over $5.5 million.
The house is owned by the Galveston Historical Foundation 
and self-guided tours are available daily. 

The house has ornate woodwork and paneling,
beautiful stained glass windows, fireplaces and lighting.
Details and authenticity strike the visitor in this place,
as only the furnishings that can be traced to either the Greshams 
or Bishop Byrnes are currently in the house.
One of the former bedrooms for the Gresham's children
 was converted into a small chapel. 
Stain glass windows and the painted ceiling were added.
Even today a visit here makes it easy 
to see the opulence of a bygone era. 
Challenges today are roof repairs, and the upkeep
to preserve a very grand structure.
And Yes- we were really here.

Here is a bit about the original owner-
Colonel Gresham was a veteran of the Civil War. 
This excerpt was taken from his obituary in the November 7, 1920, 
Galveston Daily News:
"He attended a preparatory school in Carolina County, Virginia, Edge Hill Academy, and from there he attended the University of Virginia, receiving his bachelor of law degree in 1863. Before Colonel Gresham had completed his education, however, the war between the states broke out and he immediately enlisted in the confederate army, serving first with Jackson and later with Ewell. It was while convalescing from a wound that he received leave of absence to complete his university work. He was again in the field at the time of the surrender."

He was admitted to the bar in 1867 and commenced practice in Galveston, Texas. He served as district attorney for the Galveston judicial district in 1872, and Texas House of Representatives- 1886-1891. He was elected to Congress and served 1893-1895 ad then returned to law in Galveston, Texas. He died in Washington, DC in 1920.

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