The sound of soft classical piano music
drifts lazily across white tile floors as tropical palm trees gently sway
in the air conditioned breeze. The beautiful, elegant four story
atrium, complete with birdcage elevators, takes you to a narrow walkway
with a birds eye view of the striking foyer below.
is only a short walk or trolley ride (stops at the Tremont's front door)
away, there you will find many interesting places to explore.
Specialty stores, restaurants, antique shops and a wealth of Galveston
So, when your ready to vacation in Galveston, pamper yourself with a stay at one of the Islands most prestigious Hotels,
The Tremont House.
History of the Tremont House
The present Tremont
House is the third Galveston hotel to bear the name. The island's first
Tremont House was built by the firm of McKinney and Williams in 1839 on
the southwest corner of Postoffice and Tremont Streets. An impressive
two-story structure, the hotel had long galleries on both floors extending
the length of the east and north facades. A grand ball in honor of the
anniversary of the battle of San Jacinto was held April 19, 1839, to open
the hotel. Tickets for the affair cost $50 in Texas currency or $25 in
gold, reflecting the unstable status of the new republic.
later Texas Governor Francis R. Lubbock spoke from the East gallery. In
his address he advocated laying waste to Galveston, except for
fortifications, so that when the "vandal hordes" arrived they would find
neither potable water nor shelter...a speech that made Galveston property
owners very unhappy. On June 21, 1865, when the old hotel was occupied by
Confederate soldiers, a fire destroyed the building.
The first-floor elevation of the
massive five story structure was of cast ironing the Corinthian style. The
upper floors were brick stuccoed to resemble stonework. A mansard-roofed
tower crowned the main entrance on Tremont Street. "The best place for a
preliminary look at the Texas metropolis is the observatory on the Tremont
House, which overtops the church spires and is the highest point in the
city...you see the broad expanse of clean white houses and wide sandy
beaches," reported the Galveston Daily News of April 25, 1879.
The new Tremont House was host to many celebrity guests, United States Presidents Rutherford Hayes, Ulysses S. Grant, Grover Cleveland, Benjamin Harrison, James Garfield, and Chester Arthur all stayed at the hotel. Other luminaries included Buffalo Bill Cody, Anna Pavlova, and Stephen Crane.
At a banquet honoring former President Ulysses S. Grant, in 1880, Union General Phil Sheridan, mellowed by good liquor and southern hospitality, arose and apologized for his famous remark that if he owned Hell and Texas, he would rent out Texas and live in Hell.
During the 1900 storm, hundreds of people took refuge in the Tremont House. Clara Barton, organizer of the American Red Cross, stayed there when she came to Galveston after the storm to help in the disaster. On November 1, 1928, the hotel was closed, its days of glory over, and a demolition started on December 11, 1928. The present Tremont House, a worthy successor to these legendary hotels, opened with a gala Mardi Gras celebration on February 16, 1985.
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