Currently listed among the Top 100 most significant buildings in the United States by the American Institute of Architects, this huge ornate sandstone and granite Victorian-style house was built by Galveston architect Nicholas J. Clayton between 1887 and 1892 for attorney, entrepreneur, and Civil War Veteran Colonel Walter Gresham, who relocated to Galveston from Virginia after the war with his wife Josephine, with whom he later had nine children.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Galveston bought the house in 1923 to be used as the residence of Bishop Christopher E. Byrne (hence the name), with the Sacred Heart Church situated across the street. The house was opened up to the public in 1963 when the diocese offices were moved to Houston. The Galveston Historical Foundation bought the mansion in 2013 and offers daily guided basement to attic tours and self-guided audio tours to visitors; it is also currently restoring the building at a cost of $300,000.
Texas singer-songwriter David Garza filmed a music video for his song “Texas Is My Hometown” while walking through Bishop's Palace, and the Foundation has recently scheduled musician Jamie Lin Wilson of the Trishas for a rare acoustic performance at the mansion; we hope to see more musicians scheduled to play the Palace in the future.
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An estimated 8,000 poor souls lost their lives when the Great Storm of 1900 kicked Galveston's butt in our nation's deadliest natural disaster. While the survivors struggled with the decimation of 3,600 buildings, they also had...