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The Bishop's Palace, the stone and steel mansion of Walter Gresham, rises like a beacon in Galveston's East End Historic District.
The three-story home was designed by Nicholas Clayton, the island's premier Victorian-era architect, and is considered one of the most significant Victorian residences in the nation.
Gresham, a steel and railroad tycoon, commissioned the home for he and his family in the 1880s. It was completed in 1892 and survived the great Galveston hurricane of 1900 intact. The home was monumental for its time. Clayton expanded on the traditional Chateauesque-Victorian style using irregular-shaped stones, Tudor arches with carvings of animals, people and other things. The designer also used a combination of simple geometric forms in bold masses to create dramatic effect. The opulent interior has been restored to how it would have looked during the Gresham's ownership.
A Civil War veteran, Gresham moved to Galveston from his native Virginia following the war. There he and his wife Josephine raised nine children. He was founder of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad. He also served in the Texas Legislature.
Built of stone and steel for the railroad magnate Walter Gresham and his family, this famous house was designed by Nicholas Clayton, Galveston’s premier Victorian-era architect. The Bishop’s Palace is recognized as one of America’s finest examples of Victorian exuberance and Gilded-Age extravagance.