It is an ornate 17,420 square foot residence constructed of steel and stone at a cost of $250,000 at the time. It survived the Great Storm of 1900, virtually unscathed. Today it is valued at $5.5M.
The entrance is in the basement of the house to the left of the main steps. It is also a lovely gift shop with unique gifts.
An audio device is provided for the self-guided tour with 19 designated stops through the first two floors of the house. The cost is included in the admission fee ($10/adult).
The first room on the tour is the amazing Stair Hall. The octagonal mahogany stairwell is 40' tall with stained glass on five sides.
The stained glass in the front doors in the Entrance Hall are original (and beautiful!) The ceilings on the first floor are 14' tall and the floors of the Entrance Hall are gorgeous.
The Music Hall with a silver and onyx mantel that won first price in an 1886 New Orleans Exhibition. The portraits are of Walter and Josephine Gresham.
There is another beautiful fireplace in the Parlor. This carved piece is a basket used to collect the card of visitors that came to call. The next day, the cards were used to log the names of all visitors to the home.
I loved this piece of furniture...it is a postcard box. This was a common item in Victorian homes as it served as a photograph book where postcards of family trips were kept. You can see that the interior of the box had compartments to hold postcards as well as an intricately carved top.
Butler's Pantry and Serving Kitchen (the primary kitchen was originally in the basement).
The Servant's Vestibule contained a dumbwaiter (subsequently converted to a small elevator), the call box (family members could push a button upstairs that would ring downstairs) and the back stairway (used by the kids and servants).
Bishop's Bedroom. This was originally a bedroom of one of the Gresham daughters, but when the Bishop moved into the home after the Diocese purchased it, he converted the closed into a bathroom and used this as his bedroom.
Another daughter's bedroom was converted into a Chapel in the 1920s with beautiful stained glass windows and painting on the ceiling.
Mr. Gresham's Bedroom including a view from the balcony.
Mrs. Gresham's Bedroom and bathroom. Note that the bathtub has three faucets: hot, cold, and rainwater (because rainwater is preferred for washing hair!)
The third floor was not open to the public, but there are three additional bedrooms (that the boys used when the Greshams lived in the house), a parlor, and a studio that Mrs. Gresham (an accomplished artist) used.
We were so impressed by the beauty of this home. What a pleasant experience to see this place. It's wonderful that the historical foundation of Galveston continues to manage and maintain this piece of history.