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Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Plus a Historical Introduction to Galveston, Texas

I live in Houston, and I have worked as a nurse. My interests include art, traveling, reading, gardening, cooking, and our wonderful pets.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Galveston, Texas

Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Galveston, Texas

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

People driving into Galveston, Texas on the main street of Broadway can hardly escape noticing the dazzling white Moorish designed church sitting directly across the street from the Bishop's Palace. Byzantine and Romanesque architectural elements were also worked into the design. It is one of the many historic buildings in the City of Galveston.

Sacred Heart Catholic Church stands in stark contrast to most of the other edifices which are situated on the Island of Galveston. Many of the homes are Victorian designs. Some of the notable churches incorporate Gothic architectural elements.

This is the second reincarnation of this particular church situated on this site. The first one was built in 1884. It was destroyed in the Great Storm of 1900 which took thousands of lives and devastated Galveston. Sacred Heart Catholic Church was rebuilt in 1904 and the onion dome was added in 1912. Architect Nicolas Clayton’s design of the dome was modeled after the Grand Synagogue of Toledo, Spain.

This Catholic Church inspired another original linocut of mine which is shown below along with some other photos.

Origin of the Name Galveston

Where cities, towns, counties, provinces and the like get their names is always of interest to me. Galveston, Texas and Galveston Bay and even the Hotel Galvez on Galveston Island all were named after a very interesting and influential man. Much of this history goes back to earlier times preceding this area becoming a part of the United States of America.

The Spanish General Bernardo de Gálvez

The Spanish General Bernardo de Gálvez

Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid

Also known as the Count of Gálvez, Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid played an important role in aiding people from the thirteen original colonies while they were fighting against Great Britain during the Revolutionary War. The colonists resented taxation without representation. They rebelled against it and ultimately formed the beginnings of a new nation.

Bernardo de Gálvez was a general of the Spanish military forces in what at the time was called New Spain. Under his guidance Florida was recaptured for Spain from the English.

New Spain and the Count of Gálvez

  • Spain conquered the Aztec Empire way back in 1521 and what became known as New Spain was a huge territory covering most of what is now the United States west of the Mississippi River and south of Canada.
  • New Spain also included most of the Spanish East Indies (which includes the Philippine Islands and others) plus the Spanish West Indies (islands like Cuba and Puerto Rico to mention just a couple.)
  • Covering even more land (except for Panama) all of Mexico and Central America were a part of this vast new empire called New Spain with its capitol city being located in Mexico City.

Besides being a military leader the Count of Gálvez also served in the following capacities:

  • He was the Governor of Cuba.
  • He served as the Governor of Louisiana.
  • The Count of Gálvez was also a viceroy of New Spain at different times of his life.

This man had a most influential impact upon lands long before they were even a part of what is now the United States of America. Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid accomplished much in his short lifetime of 40 years and has many places named after him in addition to that of Galveston, Texas.

Map of the Viceroyalty of New Spain in 1800. Not including the viceroyalty's overseas territories in the Pacific Ocean.

Map of the Viceroyalty of New Spain in 1800. Not including the viceroyalty's overseas territories in the Pacific Ocean.

Mexican War of Independence

The Mexican War of Independence took place in the years from 1810 to 1821 when they finally succeeded in forming an independent nation free from Spanish dominance and rule. At that time what is now called Texas as well as other nearby lands were all a part of Mexico.

Republic of Texas

Nervous residents became upset with President of Mexico, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, when he trashed the existing constitution of 1824 and usurped too much power.

Along came the Texas Revolution! The independent nation called the Republic of Texas became separated from Mexico. That remained in effect from the years 1836 to 1845 when it was annexed to become a part of the United States. At the time of annexation Texas shrunk in size giving over lands to the U.S. government that became a part of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Wyoming.

Republic of Texas

Republic of Texas

City of Galveston

  • The City of Galveston adopted its charter in the year 1839 and was accepted as a part of the Republic of Texas.
  • During the Civil War several battles were held in Galveston.
  • In 1862 Union naval forces tried to blockade Galveston and failed.
  • During the second Battle of Galveston which took place in 1863, Confederate forces succeeded in kicking Union troops off of the Island.
  • In the 1890s coastal artillery batteries which can still be seen today were erected in Galveston.
  • By the 19th century Galveston had become a thriving city with a busy seaport.

Today Galveston offers jobs and opportunities due to its shipping, large health care industry as well as a thriving financial services industry. Many people happily call it home.

A map of Galveston Island, a barrier island on Galveston Bay of the Gulf Coast of Texas.     The city of Galveston, Texas is located on part of the island.     It is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of the city of Houston.

A map of Galveston Island, a barrier island on Galveston Bay of the Gulf Coast of Texas. The city of Galveston, Texas is located on part of the island. It is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of the city of Houston.

Vacationing in Galveston

For people who just want to get a quick peek at other Galveston attractions while planning a Galveston vacation, take a look at the video below. By no means does the video portray all that there is to do and see but it shares a little more information about this fascinating city located on the Gulf of Mexico. Some of what is shown in a few short minutes includes the following:

  • Sun kissed beaches
  • Boating and Cruising
  • Museums
  • Historic Homes
  • Recreational Activities
  • Dining Opportunities
  • Places to Stay
  • Festivals
  • Tourist Attractions

There are many great enticements for people considering a Galveston vacation.

 	 Orange beach in Galveston, Texas

Orange beach in Galveston, Texas

© 2018 Peggy Woods

Comments

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on April 27, 2019:

Hi Dale,

So happy to be able to add to your education about the person who inspired the name Galveston. The Glen Campbell song popularized it, that is for certain. Is your wife now impressed with your knowledge? Haha!

Dale Anderson from The High Seas on April 27, 2019:

I had no idea that Galveston was named after a bloke (that's Australian for 'fellow' or even 'chap'.) I mean, I was pretty sure it wasn't named after a Glen Campbell song but your hub here taught me something new. Now I'll go tell the wife and make her think I am all smart ;)

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on August 10, 2018:

Hi Rajan,

Galveston is indeed a historic and interesting place to visit. I agree with you that the Sacred Heart Catholic Church is beautiful. It is also highly visible being situated on one of the main streets of Galveston.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 09, 2018:

Thanks for sharing the history of Galveston which seems to be a very fascinating place to be in. The Sacred Heart Catholic Church is really beautiful.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on June 10, 2018:

Hi Eileen,

Happy to be able to introduce you to more of the background leading up to Galveston becoming a city. I think that its history is very interesting.

Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on June 09, 2018:

Thanks Peggy. I always used to think of Glen Campbell when hearing the name Galveston now I have more info.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 25, 2018:

Hi Dianna,

I can hear Glen Campbell's song in my mind often when I think of Galveston. Hopefully someday you will be able to see the Sacred Heart Catholic Church and many other historic structures on Galveston Island. Thanks for your comment.

Dianna Mendez on May 24, 2018:

I am hearing Glen Campbell's song on Galveston in my ears as I read through your interesting article. I do hope to visit this place one day and take in the church tour. Thanks for the education!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 06, 2018:

Hi Adrienne,

Many people that live in Houston think primarily of Galveston because of its beaches but there is so much more to appreciate in that historic city. I am happy to be able to share some of that with you and other readers.

Adrienne Farricelli on May 05, 2018:

The architecture of that church looks amazing. Next time I drive through Texas, I will have to make sure to stop. The fact there is a beach there too makes it extra appealing!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 05, 2018:

Hi FlourishAnyway,

I'm glad that I could introduce you to some of what lures people to visiting Galveston. It is indeed a great vacation spot. Stay tuned for more articles!

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 05, 2018:

I liked both th church and the history. With all the Victorian architecture in the city and so much to do, this sounds like a great vacation spot I’ve never considered!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 05, 2018:

Hi RedElf,

I too often think of Glen Campbell singing the song "Galveston." Glad you enjoyed this and thanks for the complement on my linocut of this church.

RedElf from Canada on May 05, 2018:

From the moment I saw those seagulls running up the beach in the wedding video, I could hear in my mind Glenn Campbell singing "Galveston". Beautiful linocut, Peggy, and a fascinating history. Thanks!

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 04, 2018:

Hi Linda,

This church is indeed impressive and one of many beautiful pieces of architecture located in Galveston. Happy to be able to share it with you and also share some history of the area.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on May 04, 2018:

The church looks beautiful. It's very impressive, Peggy. I'd love to visit it. Your linocut is beautiful, too. Thanks for sharing the information about the area and its history.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 04, 2018:

Hi Sherry,

This church would be a hard one to miss since it is on one of the main streets and is so striking in character. Galveston does have great mardi gras celebrations. Hope you enjoyed your cruise.

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on May 04, 2018:

I remember seeing that beautiful building when I spent a couple of days in Galveston. We were leaving on a cruise from there. It happened to be during mardi gras; Galveston has quite a celebration for it.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 04, 2018:

Hi Bill,

I was also reared in the Catholic church. The earliest one that I remember was a simple mission style church in the small town of Okauchee, Wisconsin. It has since been decommissioned and where the Catholic school was situated is now condos.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 04, 2018:

Spectacular architecture! I was raised Catholic and have seen quite a few of the grand old churches, and they always fill me with wonder.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 03, 2018:

Hi Mary,

Nice to know that you enjoyed reading about the history of this area and how the State of Texas was eventually developed after being a nation state.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on May 03, 2018:

I love the historical context of this Church that you included here. It makes the Church much more interesting. I read a bit about the Spanish presence in the now U.S. and it is so important to understand Texas better.

Peggy Woods (author) from Houston, Texas on May 03, 2018:

Hi Frank,

So happy to know that you liked this article with some history of how Galveston got its name. I agree that this Sacred Heart Catholic Church is truly amazing. Thanks for being the first to comment.

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on May 03, 2018:

what an amazing structure... The history is mind boggling.. you present the picture travel package with this hub.. when I go to Texas I shall look this structure up and also visit the other wonderful sites you've posted.. thank you so much for sharing... :)