Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Galveston

It seems like I was here such a long time ago.  Wait!  It was.  I visited Galveston almost 2 months ago and I'm just now finding the time to blog.  Wow, how time flies when you are having fun (and having no cell phone or internet also makes a difference).
Galveston is such an old town, settled by Europeans in 1816, back when Texas was still a part of Mexico.  The town was not only the primary port for the area but one of the most important ports in the U.S, until it was all but destroyed in a hurricane in 1900.  

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You can see the Spanish influence in their architecture.

Notice the symmetry of this building. 

Originally built in 1879 for Leon and H. Blum, Importers of and Wholesale Dealers of Staples and Fancy Dry Goods, Hats, Boots, Shoes, Notions, Etc.  In 1923 it became the home of The Galveston Tribune, and in 1985 opened as the elegant Tremont House Hotel.

Built in 1895 for a banking firm, it has housed several different businesses over the years.  It was severely damaged in the hurricane of 1961.  Restoration began in 1985.

When I was here before, I was unable to tour The Grand Opera House due to its being in use.  This time I was able to visit this wonderful and grand palace.  Built in 1894, it was designed to hold a theater, hotel and shops.  Although it sustained major damage in the 1900 hurricane, it was rebuilt and open again within a year. Instead of having its own resident theater company, it became a major stop for both American and European touring productions, and still is today.  Among some of the famous artists to have performed here are:  Lillian Russell, Lionel Barrymore, George M. Cohan, Sarah Bernhardt, Anna Pavlova, John Phillips Sousa, and Al Jolson, just to name a few.

The hotel and shops are gone, but the theater remains in all of its opulence.  Here I am standing on the third floor, looking down at the stage. Notice the private seating for each level on the sides.

The private seats were beautiful.

I first thought this was an oriental rug on display, but upon closer inspection, this is a sand painting (Mandala) by the Tibetan Monks of Gaden Shartse.  This Mandala was created on stage at the Grand and donated by the monks for display.
The Grand Opera House is the Official Opera House of the State of Texas and has now entered its second century of providing entertainment.

This Danish inspired Castle was built in 1890 by the Trube family, who still owns and occupies the residence today.

The Moody Mansion, built in 1895.  Galveston has over 60 buildings designated as National Historic Sites.

The Bishop's Palace, or Greshem's Castle, was built around 1890.  It was purchased in 1923 by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galveston and it became of the residence of Bishop Christopher Byne.  In 1963 the mansion was opened to the public for tours. 

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Hotel Galvez, built in 1911.

It was windy and cold, not a good day to run barefoot on the beach.

You can also check out my blog of when I visited in April 2011:  Galveston 2011


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