Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Historic Galveston

Bishop's Palace in Galveston, Texas

When people think about Galveston, many things come to mind. Seawall Boulevard, Stewart Beach, the Bolivar Ferry and the 1900 Hurricane are some of them. However, what many don't know is that Galveston is also home to many examples of Victorian architecture. The Strand district has many historic buildings that have been maintained over the years.

While driving down Broadway, there are also several examples of such architecture. The mansion in the picture above is named Bishop's Palace, and is open for tours. Unfortunately, time did not permit a tour of the interior this trip, but I managed to get a few pictures of the exterior of this fine building.

Across the street from the Bishop's Palace is Sacred Heart Catholic Church. While I am certainly no fan of religion, there is no doubt that some of the world's most beautiful buildings are houses of worship. What is striking about Sacred Heart is the gleaming white color and the detail of the architecture. On the roof of the tower portions, just above the top parapet, there are stone fleur-de-lis at each of the corners. Surrounded by palm trees, this outstanding structure cannot be missed.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Galveston

Over on Postoffice Street, The Grand 1894 Opera House is still in business. It hosts a variety of shows throughout the year, including Banjomania every Father's Day weekend, as well as its role as a venue for private events. Built six years before the Great Hurricane of 1900 at a cost of $100,000 dollars, this historic building has survived many storms and serves today as both a cultural attraction and a link to Galveston's past.

The Grand 1894 Opera House

The image below is the main entryway to the Opera House, showing the arch and the box office located just inside the arch.

Opera House entryway

Here is a detailed close up of the 1894 medallion at the peak of the archway. These pictures barely scratch the surface of the classic architecture that is pervasive over much of the city. It would be easy to spend a lot of time exploring Galveston's past and present. Someday I hope to do more of that.

Detail at top of arch, showing the year it was built

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