On January 1st GHF celebrates the New Year at Bishop’s Palace with free admission 1pm-3pm. This event will introduce Walter Gresham as one of our primary characters for the Deep Water Jubilee and the tradition of New Year’s calling in Galveston.  Construction of Bishop’s Palace began while Mr. Gresham tirelessly worked to pass the River and Harbors Bill and its 6.2 million appropriation for Galveston.  The house was finished in 1892, only one year after the Jubilee. The anniversary celebration will include a champagne toast and the debut the Deep Water Jubilee exhibit panels.


In 1890, Galveston finally received what it needed to become an economically competitive port: a 6.2 million dollar congressional appropriation to deepen the harbor. News of the appropriation sent Galveston into a flurry of spontaneous celebrations and a rush to plan six months’ worth of festivities called the Deep Water Jubilee.

Galveston did not successfully lobby congress alone. By working with other western cities and interests, they proved together that deep water at Galveston held national importance. As the farthest port with access to the Atlantic trade, Galveston and the West stood to gain handsomely from increased goods traveling through the harbor. Deep water meant larger ships carrying more cargo, making more money for the western states.

After over twenty years of planning, deep water was within Galveston’s reach. With banquets, oyster roasts and maritime excursions, Galveston set about thanking its many partners in November of 1890. In February, Galveston held one of her famous Mardi Gras events accompanied by a trades display parade. In April, Galveston hosted the biennial Saengerfest, which boasted three days of concerts by German music groups from across the state. The Deep Water Jubilee ended with the arrival of sitting President, Benjamin Harrison, who signed the bill into law, and all the pomp and circumstance befitting a presidential visit.

Join Galveston Historical Foundation in 2017 as we remember the city’s triumph. Featuring personal stories of individuals, events, educational programs and more, GHF celebrates Galveston’s Deep Water Jubilee.

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