The Haunted Castle of Galveston

on Tuesday, June, 22 2010 @ 04:46:00 am (540 words)
In Uncategorized [ 80020 views ]


Popularly known as the Bishop's Palace, the immense stone mansion located at 1402 Broadway (corner of 14th at Broadway) in Galveston, Texas, is an incredible sight and indubitably the most photographed landmark on Galveston Island.  Designed and built from 1887-1893 (at an estimated cost then of $250,000) by prominent architect Nicholas J. Clayton of Galveston for attorney and politician Colonel Walter Gresham and his wife Josephine (the parents of nine children), the structure is regarded as one of the most important Victorian structures in the United States.

At one time called "Gresham's Castle," the ornate edifice of three-stories over a raised basement is in the Châteauesque style (derived from the French revival style). It was constructed from carved limestone (accented with red sandstone, red granite, and gray granite) and steel frame (making the outer walls, including interior wood paneling, twenty-three inches thick). The facade features elaborate carvings of people, plants, animals, and mythical creatures. It has steep roofs and tall turret-like chimneys.

Stained glass windows, magnificent fireplaces (one lined in pure silver), wood floors, exquisite paneling, and a majestic wooden staircase distinguish the interior of the 7,500 square foot home. Rare woods constitute much of the elaborate carved features throughout the house, and most of the luxurious furniture is original.

Born in Virginia in 1841, Walter Gresham enlisted in the Twenty-fourth Virginia Cavalry at the beginning of the War Between the States, later serving in other regiments. In 1863, he was graduated from the law department of the University of Virginia, and late in 1866 moved to Galveston, Texas, to practice law. Among many important activities and positions, he was elected district attorney for Galveston and Brazoria counties; was director of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railway (as well as its second vice president); served in the Texas legislature (1887 to 1891); and was elected to Congress in 1892 but did not win re-election. He returned to the practice of law in Galveston. He died in Washington, D.C., on November 6, 1920, and is buried in Galveston in Lakeview Cemetery.

In 1923, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galveston-Houston (which in 2004 became an archdiocese) bought for $40,500 the Gresham home, which sits across the street from the Sacred Heart Church, and for many years it was the residence of the bishop, Christopher Edward Byrne.  In 1963, following the removal of the offices of the diocese to Houston, the diocese opened the home to the public.  It has been managed as a museum by the Galveston Historical Foundation since December 2007.

The mansion withstood the Great Storm of 1900 (the Galveston Hurricane) virtually unscathed. It is said that the ghost of Walter Gresham is seen, sometimes appearing to be inspecting the exterior of the building, whenever the island of Galveston is threatened by a storm from the gulf. (The house also suffered some flooding and roof damage from Hurricane Ike in September 2008, but it has since dried out and been reopened.) Other ghosts are said to haunt the home and publications and websites insist the mansion is quite haunted, one website even saying that the ghosts move about there willy nilly.

The Bishop's Palace is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark and is listed by the U. S. Department of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark (and as such it is on the National Register of Historic Places).




Comment from: soft4file [Visitor]
soft4filegood ,I like this post.
09/28/10 @ 23:02
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01/29/11 @ 16:22
Comment from: Ashley [Visitor]  
AshleyMy mother was 'crazy' abt this Palace. We would visit there as often as possible. We spent hr upon hr at the local library & Houston library; while she researched the Palace. She spent yrs working on the book about the Palace; but it was never completed. She passed away in 1997. It wasn't considered 'haunted' while she was doing her research!
10/21/12 @ 15:10
Comment from: DJ Stephens [Visitor]
DJ StephensWe were this summer with several of my grand children.My daughter and myself had a few places that gave us the chills. Two of the grand kids ages 14 and 20 had several weird feeling. As we were leaving several of the kids started down the steps and I stepped on the landing and was hit with a really cold spot and anxiety.I had this feeling come over me of a black servant being pushed down the stairs. I would love to know if it really had happen. There was another family with a boy about the age of three or four.He cried the whole time he was there and kept wanting to leave.
11/09/13 @ 23:41
Comment from: Kassandra [Visitor]
KassandraI always pass in front this castle and I always thought that this was one of my dream castles my mom also said that one day she would like to buy this caste for that I read this I think that it's creepy just to pass in front some place that's haunted and I never knew it.oh well,I still like this place it's pretty but now it's preety and scary at the same time.weird thing is that my mom still wants to buy it.she also said that she would like to do some research.
02/26/15 @ 01:02
Comment from: Ciera Rae [Visitor]
Ciera RaeI loved visiting this place. I felt the calm easy spirits of the family that first owned the house and seen them sitting in the sun room. It was the best historical place I have ever visited in my life. I wanted to see ALL of it.
07/14/15 @ 05:28
Comment from: Saintadam [Visitor]
SaintadamI'm one of the few people that have an intimate relationship with it. Your facts are almost right. The place is way bigger than 7k. Also, it is not said that it's haunted. There had only been one death in the house. That of Bishop Byrne. His sister's lived there with him during that. His wake was held there in the grand reception room. And no slaves were there. Slaves were freed by the time the house was constructed. He was to prominent to go around killing local black workers. It would have ruined his lustrous career. But one thing you do have right. The stairs make people ill. We think its cause of the temperature. No A/C. But people see those stairs and freak.
07/18/15 @ 04:33
Comment from: Inez M. Garcia [Visitor]
Inez M. GarciaI was there with my two grand grandchildren this weekend, we thought it was beautiful and peaceful. When I was a child we went as a family to a wake a Bishop was lying in state, and as we passed to view the body we kissed the Bishop's ring an event I will hold in my heart forever.
08/05/15 @ 18:54
Comment from: Vicki [Visitor]
VickiAs I walked in the entrance of the basement I immidiately smelled this sent and it wasn't horrible but it smelled wired like an old perfume. I proceeded to walk in and the air was thick and heavy. I walked around and mind you I have never visited before nor did I know any history of the house. I walked towards the back of the basement and a gentalman was standing behind a little both that had T-shirts. I started to chat with him and immidiately I felt hot around my ears, goosebumps,and tingling feeling all through my face. I told him that this place is very haunted and that the activity is very active up on the top floors. He smiled and he said "yes it is". I told him that since I was a child I could hear, feel, and see spirits. He too had the same experiences and understood what I was experiencing. I paid for the tour and before walking up the stairs I felt this pressure like a headache and a little nauseous. I just grounded myself and took a deep breath and proceeded to go up the stairs to the first floor. The air became lighter and the weird smell of old perfume left. The funny thing is.. some of the areas of the house the smell was strong. It was a nice visit..but my two year old and husband didn't join me because my two year old son said that he saw a monster in the basement area and started crying and didn't want to walk any further. Oh and yes...there was a family with a little toddler around a 1year old. The poor toddler would not stop crying. I will return to visit and get to see the 3rd floor because it was closed off.
10/18/15 @ 04:59
Comment from: R. Pleasant [Visitor]
R. PleasantBorn in Texas. Been to Galveston several times and never visited this planning a trip just to see the castle. Can't wait.
02/21/18 @ 15:58
Comment from: Steve [Visitor]
SteveHi, I'm Steve and I visited the Bishop's Palace and absolutely nothing interferd with me. All I saw was wonderfully preserved piece of History. I had a good time. Thank you.
05/06/18 @ 22:12

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