Galveston Historical Foundation begins restoration on the Walter and Josephine Gresham House also known as Bishop’s Palace this month.  For a house in its 123rd year of life, ongoing maintenance and restoration work are crucial to its preservation. When it’s a National Historic Landmark; however, it’s imperative. Over the next few months, visitors to the Bishop’s Palace will see GHF’s latest preservation project that includes new electrical wiring, updated historical paint colors, window repair, foundation work and stained glass repair.  Additional work is planned on the tile roof though GHF is now verifying the source and manufacturer of the roof tiles.

Atlas Foundation, Building Solutions, A&H Electric, Foster Stained Glass and Source Historical Services are contractors for the restoration. Work is being funded by a grant from the Save America’s Treasures program of the National Park Service for nationally significant properties with matching funds being raised by admission fees.

“We are very excited to see some long-needed restoration work underway,” states Dwayne Jones, Galveston Historical Foundation’s Executive Director. “The Gresham House tells an extraordinary story of the island’s rich history and architecture.  It’s a magnificent building that we are proud to own and manage.”

Bishop’s Palace, also known as the Walter and Josephine Gresham House, is one of the island’s best known and most popular tourist attractions. Bishop’s Palace is recognized as one of the nation’s most important late 19th century Victorian residences. Nicholas Clayton, Texas’ most accomplished architect of the period, designed the house for the Gresham family. In 1921, Galvestonians raised money to buy the house for the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese to make it the home of Bishop Byrne.

GHF purchased the property in 2013 from the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese. The foundation is the third owner of the property and assumed management in 2007. It welcomes over 65,000 local, national and international visitors each year. Normal operating hours will continue: 10 am to 5 pm Sunday through Friday and 10 am to 6 pm Saturday. The home is located at 1402 Broadway in Galveston, Texas.

10 Responses

  1. Virginia Appleman

    Heard from my daughter’s in-laws who said that when they toured the Palace a week ago or so, there was no furniture in the house. It’s been years since I’ve been there. Did the Gresham family take back all their furniture, or is it being stored due to the restoration?

    Reply
  2. M J Kugle

    I would like to take grand daughters who live out of state , to the Bishop’s Palace sometime between July 4 and 8 for a tour. Will renovations be completed and furniture replaced, and will tours be available during that time?

    Many thanks,

    M J Kugle
    Clear Lake City Resident

    Reply
  3. John

    Is there a restaurant named Bishop’s there or nearby? Was the Palace ever a hotel?

    Thanks
    John

    Reply
    • Galveston Historical Foundation

      Hi John,

      There is not a restaurant of that name that we’re aware of. The palace was never a hotel. It was a private residence prior to being donated to the Catholic Church and remained with them until we purchased it.

      Reply
  4. Suzan B. Smith

    Earlier today, I stumbled onto the fact that the Bishop’s Palace was for sale in 2013 and the GHF was trying to raise the money to buy it…So, then I went on a search to find out more and am SO relieved to know that the GHF DID buy it and has been doing long needed restoration !.. I’ve been on two tours there many years ago and was horrified at the thought of anyone ELSE buying it !…I find it disgusting that the Houston – Galveston Archdiocese had it for over 90 years and did little, if anything, towards the Palace’s Proper maintenance and upkeep…I’m so glad it is now getting the attention it has deserved all along.

    Reply
  5. Howie M

    Will the Bishop’s Mansion be open for touring on January 5th or 6th, 2016?

    Thanks,
    Howie M.

    Reply
  6. Ruth A. Lloyd

    I’ve been to the Bishop’s Palace several times…I did my training at U.T.M.B. there and when friends and family visited …Bishop’s Palace was on the list to see. I’ve referred and sent several people there to Tour it…and they are always AMAZED at it’s beauty of design, history , and architectures. It is a True piece of Texas history and well worth the time to see. Also, across the street is Sacred Heart Catholic Church with a history of it’s own too , and worth going inside to see…Thank you, Galveston Historical Foundation for your continued support and efforts with maintaining historical sites around the Island…

    Reply

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