Celebrating My Love Affair With Galveston Island . . .
The Stewart’s Mansion - Home to Pirates and Philanthropists
- With Shirley Roane, Dan Snyder
Every trip to Galveston starts with a drive past The Stewart’s Mansion on the west end of the island to reassure myself all is well with “my" house. This visit was special because I had an appointment with the property’s new owner, Dan Snyder.
The mansion, previously ravaged by Mother Nature, vandals and neglect, had been extensively remodeled. A development plan that would have seen it turned into a clubhouse was later abandoned, and the mansion again sat empty. Blight began to take hold.
Even though Mr. Snyder seemed nice during our telephone introduction, I was still nervous–unsure what to expect. There was a lot at stake.
The storied home, which captured my heart and imagination years ago, has changed hands many times in its 95 years, and escaped the wrecking ball more than once, most recently by Snyder. The mansion was built in 1926 by George Sealy II, and in 1933, Maco Stewart Sr. acquired it in a land-swap with Sealy. The Stewarts would go on to be one of the city's most important benefactors.
It sits on the original settlement of Jean Lafitte. On Stewart Road, near the mansion, a State of Texas historical marker recognizes the pirate’s occupation of the area. It also notes The Battle of Three Trees, three bloody days of battle between Lafitte’s men and the Karankawa Indians. It is believed Jean Lafitte buried treasure on the property, and although many have searched, its location remains a secret.
The mansion has long been believed to be haunted, and my favorite tale is that of the Campeche Hell Dogs - Lafitte’s mythical pack of black canines that protect his buried treasure. They're believed by some to still patrol the site.
Honorary Campeche Hell Dogs Darcy and Lizzie
In 1983, the State of Texas erected an official historical marker honoring “The Stewart Property.”
Meeting Mr. Snyder, and his girlfriend Shirley Roane, was a joy. I’m delighted the mansion is being cared for and loved again. In addition to use as weekend family home, Snyder is developing the mansion into a bay-front bed and breakfast.
One guess as to who’ll be among the first to book a room.
To learn more about The Stewart's Mansion, as well as the Campeche Hell Dogs, please see their pages on this website.
The Stewart's Mansion