When Kim and I first got married 35 years ago, we lived in Galveston Texas. Galveston was and may still be the home of the most historic sites in Texas. We participated in the old homes tour each year and became “Docents” for a house each year. We love historic sites and homes built around the turn of the last century.
We recently discovered that Palestine had a myriad of historical sites, over 1800 in total and were amazed at the places we saw on Saturday morning. The first being the old library built with aid from the Carnegie Foundation and was built in 1914. It was designated as a Texas Historic Landmark in 1970 and entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1988, by the Department of the Interior.
Palestine Carnegie Library
Next we stopped at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church, a successor to the original wooden St. Joseph Church built in 1874, on land donated by the Great Northern Railway. The St. Joseph church burned down in 1890 and this building of handmade brick was begun later that year. The design was done by Nicholas J. Clayton, a prominent Victorian Era architect of Galveston, who was also responsible for the Bishop’s Palace and the Old Red Building at UTMB, both infamous Galveston structures.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
Next up was the Redlands Hotel which is listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings and was originally headquarters for the International & Great Northern Railroad. It is located in Main Street District and has extended stay apartments available. Located on the bottom floor is the Red Fire Grille, featuring Executive Chef Christian Mailloux. I will devote an entire blog to this restaurant later in the series.
Nearby is the Texas Theater, home of Palestine Community Theatre, a live production company. It is an example of Spanish Colonial architecture and was originally a movie theater, but closed after several horrific fires and other issues. It reopened 25 years ago and has become the finest venue for live entertainment in East Texas.
The last “building” I am picturing is the Palestine Post Office and Federal Building constructed between 1911 and 1913. At the time it was built it housed the Selective Service, The National Weather Bureau’s Reading Station and other federal offices. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. Anderson County has owned the building since 1990.
The Palestine Post Office and Federal Building
There are a myriad of other historical buildings, shops and stores, but I can’t possibly cover them all. The downtown is in the middle of a restoration process, that will continue to be bolstered by additional tourism and philanthropy. I am confident that this pearl of the East Texas Piney Woods will continue to prosper and become a destination for all Texans and visitors looking for a historical treasures.
Okay so you thought the post was over. Not on your life. We transitioned to the neighborhoods and started viewing some of the most spectacular old homes I have ever seen. This is one of my passions, as you will see. I couldn’t stop taking photos and kept asking Breezy Lake-Wolfe to stop and let me capture each house I liked. This of course threw us way off schedule and made us late for our lunch date, the subject of my next article. Shown below are a few of my favorites.
Love This Huge Tree and the Fabulous Porch of This House
Love the Size, Double Stacked Porches and All the Windows in This House
Love the Upstairs Balcony and the Wonderful Painting Contrasts of this House
Love Green Old Houses With Gingerbread Trim
Loved The Circular Driveway, Swings and The Magnificent Front Porch
Kim and I Could Retire in This House
A Colorful Victorian House, With So Much Going On
Love This Street Sign and Iron Fencing
How Would You Like This Entryway
This Building is an Old Vacated Structure, Inhabited by Ghosts and It Looks Like One is Escaping In Its Wheelchair
The restoration of old homes and their downtown area in Palestine, reminds me of my time in Galveston. I know a great deal of you will be surprised, but I actually practiced carpentry at that time and helped rebuild many old homes in Galveston, along with a few of the Historical buildings on the Strand.
I feel these two towns are related in their efforts to bring back the luster of their respective cities. I am excited at how enthusiastic Palestine is about revitalizing these gorgeous old structures downtown and the fantastic homes on the perimeter. I love it when towns decide to take positive steps and own their future. Congratulations #palestinetx for initiating this rehabilitation of your city.
*** My trip to Palestine Texas was sponsored by the City of Palestine Marketing Department. All opinions are solely mine and as always, generated without any influence.