One of Galveston's finest Resort Boutique Hotels
offering Bed and Breakfast Lodging Accommodations
Built in 1866 in the classic Greek Revival style of the era, the Inn is one of few remaining landmarks representing the Island's earliest building boom. Set on four city lots, it was built with grandeur.
On land purchased from E. B. Nichols, a retired Confederate General, Lewis W. Carr built theGreek Revival mansion as his summer home. In 1870 he sold the home to Richard Coke, Governor of the State of Texas, who owned the home as his Summer Mansion through 1876. The home was purchased and lived in by the Horace Sloan/Jane Austin (Stephen F.Austin) family until 1889. The home was sold in 1889 to Herman and Bertha Marwitz, who purchased the home as a gift for their daughter, Ida, on her wedding to John Gross, Secretary of Galveston Dry Goods. Ida and John Gross expanded the home to include an elegant ballroom, a necessity for the social entertaining of Galveston's wealthy businessmen. Built in Queen Anne architectural style, the elegant, formal ballroom occupies the prominent corner turret and large bay that adorn the building's northeast elevation.
Ida Marwitz Gross
The building was remodeled at the time of the 1889 expansion and included an impressive front entrance door and fan-light arch which matched the beveled glass, French door, and fan-light arch that grace the ballroom entrance. Two ornate fireplace mantels were imported from Europe; one to replace the original dining room's fireplace, and one for the new ballroom. In the late 80's and 90's, the simple slate and marble fireplace mantels of the 60's were considered in bad taste and those that could afford the luxury were encouraged to replace the mantels with more ornate and decorative wood mantels. The central staircase, although original to 1866, was updated in the 1889 renovation, and has a massive, detail-carved, walnut newel post. Galveston's prominent architect, Nicholas Clayton designed the 1889 addition, and many of the home's details, such as the newel post are consistent with other Clayton projects of the era. The large milk-glass ballroom light fixtures are original to the 1889 renovation. The expansion also included two additional bedrooms on the second story level. The house was once again expanded in 1898-99. The addition included a new dining room, kitchen and butler's pantry and additional bedrooms. The new dining room adjoined the ballroom with large, arched pocket doors and was built in the Arts and Crafts architectural style. The heavy wood beamed ceiling, wainscoting, floor to ceiling leaded glass cabinetry, small pane windows, built-in window benches, and ornate, inlaid fireplace overmantel with carved ivory figurehead are original to the room. The 1898-99 expansion also included indoor plumbing and electrical service, as well as the addition of the carriage house.
The Inn withstood the 1900 Storm without damage. During the grade raising of the Island, during the years following The Great Storm, the home was raised eight feet. The front steps, with the beautiful bracketed parapets, culminating in the pair of lions, provided the entrance to the home's new elevation and dates 1902.
The Gross family owned the estate through 1950. During the next five decades the estate was utilized as a church, a boarding house and a private residence and suffered years of neglect. The estate was purchased in March of 1997 and the property restored to its original grandeur, opening as an Inn in October 1998.
The Inn was featured on the Galveston Historical Foundation's 25th Anniversary Tour, May 1st and 2nd, and May 8th and 9th, 1999. Over 5,500 people toured the Inn and sampled the true grandeur and hospitality of this historic mansion.
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The Mermaid & Dolphin Resort
A Boutique Hotel & Spa Resort
1103 Thirty-Third Street
Galveston Island, Texas 77550
For Reservations 9:00 a.m.- 10:00 p.m. Daily
Call Toll Free: (800) 930-1866
(After 10 p.m. CST, please send a voice or email message for Reservation Inquiries)
General Inquiries, Weddings and Events 9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m. Daily
Phone: (409)762-1561 Toll Free: (888) 922-1866