Galveston Historical Foundation
Oppermann Mausoleum

GHF Receives Stewardship of Oppermann Vault

Galveston Historical Foundation has recently acquired the Oppermann Mausoleum located in Calvary Cemetery at 2506 65th St. The Oppermann mausoleum has been in the family for over 130 years, and because of its significant historical value to Galveston, the family offered the mausoleum as a gift to GHF. The Calvary Cemetery site on which the Oppermann mausoleum was built is still owned and maintained by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

“GHF quickly recognized the significance of the Italian Renaissance classical Oppermann Vault (1885) at Calvary Cemetery when the family asked us to accept long-term stewardship for the vault,” explains Dwayne Jones, GHF Executive Director. “Not only is the family important, but it is another outstanding example of Nicholas Clayton’s architecture and engineering. The vault is one of the few remaining structures in Galveston that illustrates the extraordinary building skills of Clayton. The ribbed brick arches are beautifully shaped and formed to create a powerful resting place for family members. While not in use for some time, the Oppermann Vault is a statement to the family and to the declining generation of funerary architecture.”


Following the death of Mary A. Oppermann, her husband Gustav Oppermann commissioned Nicholas J. Clayton to design and build a mausoleum for his deceased wife and the family. According to Clayton’s Galveston, the “dome proposed for Sacred Heart was a close adaptation of Clayton’s 1884 design for the Mary A. Oppermann Vault.” The mausoleum stands today as perhaps the most visible historical structure along 61st Street.

Gustav Oppermann arrived in Galveston from Hildesheim, Kingdom of Hannover in 1847 and became a prominent early Galveston real estate investor. He was interred in the vault upon his death in 1887. GHF extends its thanks to the Oppermann family for their gift and to the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston for their help in facilitating the transfer of ownership of the structure.


Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) was formed as the Galveston Historical Society in 1871 and merged with a new organization formed in 1954 as a non-profit entity devoted to historic preservation and history in Galveston County. Over the last sixty years, GHF has expanded its mission to encompass community redevelopment, historic preservation advocacy, maritime preservation, coastal resiliency and stewardship of historic properties. GHF embraces a broader vision of history and architecture that encompasses advancements in environmental and natural sciences and their intersection with historic buildings and coastal life and conceives of history as an engaging story of individual lives and experiences on Galveston Island from the 19th century to the present day.

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