For years the Mernard House at 33rd Street and Avenue N 1/2 has been known as "the" haunted house of Galveston.
Built in 1838, the home of Michael Mernard – one of the original signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, sat empty for many years with its windows boarded shut. The imposing oaks surrounding the mansion only added to its eerie appearance. In fact, long time Islanders such as my old friend Sheila Lidstone still talk about crossing the street as kids in order to avoid passing directly in front of the "creepy" old house. Like Ashton Villa, Mernard House is today one of Galveston’s most beautifully restored historic homes with rumors of its own resident ghost.
According to local legend, well before the Civil War the Mernard House was the site of Galveston’s first ever Mardi Gras Ball. At midnight a young woman tripped on the front hall stairway, fell and broke her neck.
For years that followed on Mardi Gras night, Mernard’s slaves were said to have seen the ghost of the young woman standing on the stairs. It is not known for sure who the young woman was, but it is believed to be Mernard’s daughter, Clara, who reportedly died in her teens.
Another ghostly tale of Galveston Island . . .
Michael Baxter is the Texas Travelin’ Man
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