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Holiday Happenings
Galveston Historical Foundation
News Release
Monday, December 22, 2008

Bishop’s Palace Open for the Holidays  
The Bishop’s Palace, at 14th and Broadway in Galveston, will be open from noon to 4 p.m., with guided tours on the hour, on December 26, 27, 28, and on January 1, 3 and 4. Designated as a National Historic Landmark, the Bishop’s Palace has been listed as one of the nation’s most important Victorian buildings by the American Institute of Architects. The soaring steel-and-stone “Chateauesque" structure was completed in 1892. Admission for adults is $8; students (6 through18) $7. A family pass is available for $28. Children 5 and under are free. 
ELISSA Open for the Holidays 
The 1877 tall ship Elissa, moored at Pier 22 just off Harborside Drive in Galveston, is now open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for December 22 through 25. The ship will be open on New Year’s Day. The three-masted, iron-hulled barque Elissa was built in 1877 in Aberdeen, Scotland and is said to take her name from the epic poem The Aeneid. Elissa is one of only three ships of her age in the United States that still sails. She is a National Historic Landmark and the Official Tall Ship of Texas. Her volunteer crew has continued to meet regularly to clean up her pier in the wake of Hurricane Ike and to continue their regular all-day Saturday seamanship training sessions.

Tickets to Elissa, normally $8, will be discounted to $5 for adults because the Texas Seaport Museum, usually part of the ticket price, has not yet reopened, but access to the museum shop is included. Students (6 through 18) are $3, and children 5 and under are free. 
Historic 1859 St. Joseph’s Church to be Open for Public Tours New Year’s Day
The historic 1859 St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, the oldest wooden church building in Galveston and the oldest German Catholic church in Texas, will be open to the public on New Year’s Day, Thursday, January 1, 2009, from noon to 3 p.m.

Although it has been and continues to be open by arrangement and for special events, the church is not regularly open for tours. GHF volunteer Leslie Burgess, who attended the church as a child with her aunt, will serve as docent for the New Year’s Day tour, to communicate her knowledge of and affection for the building, one of the four oldest churches in Galveston.

Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) operates St. Joseph’s as an event venue for concerts, meetings, weddings, lectures and other private events. Upon its de-sanctification by the Diocese of Galveston-Houston in 1968, GHF took on the building’s stewardship, raising the funds and organizing the volunteer efforts to keep the building at the northwest corner of 22nd Street and

Avenue K in good repair and available for community use.
With an elegant and spare gothic revival exterior, the church is surprisingly colorful and ornate on the inside, featuring painted wood walls, the original grain-painted cedar pews, hand-carved altars, plaster stations of the cross and a beautifully painted coffered ceiling. German inscriptions and painted symbols are reminders of a time when German immigrants represented nearly half the population of Galveston.

Designed and built by German immigrant architect Joseph Bleicke and dedicated to St. Joseph in 1860, the structure was nearly destroyed in the Great Storm of 1900. It was rebuilt and expanded by famed Galveston architect Nicholas Clayton, and remains today in form and furnishing much as it was a century ago.

The New Year’s Day Tour of St. Joseph’s Church will be $3 for adults, $1 for children 6-12, and free for those under 6. For more information, contact Beth Shriner at 409-765-7834

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