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Donnellan Grave Vault/Crypt


theoriginalkj

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My son and I went to downtown Houston today to seek out the Donnellan Grave Vault / Crypt. This crypt is located at the end of Franklin Street where it meets the bayou. It's actually underneath Franklin Street on the banks of Buffalo Bayou, under the parking lot for Chase Bank. Tim Donnellan was an early prominent Houston settler and he was buried in a large red brick vault in 1849 along the bayou's edge. Later, his wife and kids were buried there also. The crypt has surprisingly survived the initial Franklin Street wooden bridge, constructed in 1885, the later iron constructed Franklin Street bridge finished in 1907, and the later concrete constructed bridge in 1924. The remains of all the family members were moved to Glenwood Cemetary in the early 1900's, so there aren't any known remains buried there. This begs the question, why has there been so much effort through at least 4 bridge constructions to keep the crypt intact. The original brick wall and crypt door are still in place to this day just begging for deeper exploration. Like I said, the crypt is under the Franklin Street bridge at the Buffalo Bayou and is very tricky to get to because of the steep bayou walls here. I was able to get to it by going down the bridge embankment a block from Spagetti Warehouse and follow the bayou around from there.

I would like to see folks here make a discussion about this vault or other such interesting spots around Houston.

A complete write-up of the Donnellan Grave Vault by Louis F. Aulbach exists at http://www.hal-pc.org/~lfa/BB38.html. Here are the photos I took today:

crypt1.jpg

crypt2.jpg

crypt3.jpg

crypt4.jpg

crypt5.jpg

Edited by Kevin Jackson
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It is an interesting place - i went over there about a year ago, and either it is not the easiest place to get to or i went the really hard way. Plus it was at night, so it was a little more creepy.

It looked like there was rubble behind the little door:

vault002.jpg

vault003.jpg

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So is there a room of some sort still back there behind that boarded up space or is it all caved in? I am surprised that whatever it is they have blocking the door, boards, a door, whatever that is, that it is not all rotten & crumbling. If anyone was brave enough, could they get that open to see what sort of space remains behind it?

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So is there a room of some sort still back there behind that boarded up space or is it all caved in? I am surprised that whatever it is they have blocking the door, boards, a door, whatever that is, that it is not all rotten & crumbling. If anyone was brave enough, could they get that open to see what sort of space remains behind it?

I'm just as amazed that the door hasn't been completely torn apart by the homeless as fuel for a camp fire.

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I recently found a short Galveston Daily News article, dated May 30, 1900, referencing a request by the Donnellan family to remove the remains buried in the crypt because the family believed the crypt may have been desecrated when a bridge was built over the bayou. The piece seemed consistent with the Aulbach write-up, which is pretty detailed.

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It is an interesting place - i went over there about a year ago, and either it is not the easiest place to get to or i went the really hard way. Plus it was at night, so it was a little more creepy.

It looked like there was rubble behind the little door:

Thanks for your photos. I didn't notice the rubble behind the door. It also looked like the timber was placed as a block from perhaps BEHIND the brick wall. This is very disappointing for somebody trying to remove the door and for why it's there. Perhaps the entire crypt has been rubbled in (is that a word?) and the wood is placed from within and is considerably larger than the door face. It looks like the wood is too long and large to have been put in place recently or afterward. I would be very interested in knowing how big the room is behind the door. The article called it a large red brick crypt and if the size of the visible red brick is any indication, then the room would be quite large, and perhaps possibly even as big as an efficiency apartment - although probably not. If so, then the room itself may present structural issues to the road above, and hence the rubble. Just speculating..

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Whats kind of weird is it looks kind of like the building was

nearly cut in half. Or at least a chunk towards the bridge.

In the doorway, obviously the right side of that entrance

used to be brick not far from where the present cement is.

Being the brick frame should be symmetrical, the wall to

the right would have only been a foot or two farther in.

maybe 2 bricks worth, judging from the frame of the door.

Also,if that cement is all built up, that entrance must have

been pretty high off the ground originally. Or would

seem anyway, unless the river bank has subsided a

few feet.

Is all that red brick part of the crypt? Seems big, unless

it's an illusion of the picture.

If that thing is from 1849, I'm not sure but it might be the

oldest surviving structure from that period in town, unless

I'm missing a building.. Or one of the oldest anyway.

That's pretty old. Pretty decent brick work too for 1849.

The walls seem to be thick.

It would be kind of neat to check it out, but that board

thing looks fairly stout, and it's like it's mounted from

the inside to where it might not be easy to take off.

Probably why it hasn't been burned for firewood yet..

The bottoms of the boards almost look semi sunk in

cement. It probably is about half full of rubble from the

bridge work I bet, but you never know.

MK

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I would be very interested in knowing how big the room is behind the door. The article called it a large red brick crypt and if the size of the visible red brick is any indication, then the room would be quite large, and perhaps possibly even as big as an efficiency apartment - although probably not.

Still, wouldn't that be every Goth kid's dream apartment?

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It would be kind of neat to check it out, but that board

thing looks fairly stout, and it's like it's mounted from

the inside to where it might not be easy to take off.

Probably why it hasn't been burned for firewood yet..

The bottoms of the boards almost look semi sunk in

cement. It probably is about half full of rubble from the

bridge work I bet, but you never know.

MK

Actually, with this bad boy it wouldn't be hard at all. Not that I am suggesting/condoning/proposing/excusing such a sacrilege!

51Dxje56nEL_SS384_.jpg

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Apologies for the lengthy post but, in case anyone is going to do additional research, here are some references in the Galveston paper to the Donnellan family - some of which are mentioned in Louis F. Aulbach's piece on the crypt:

2/12/1867 - "Fatal Accident - On Sunday morning, Messrs. Donnellan and Richer, partners in the tin business, below the Kennedy Building, retired to their home on the Bayou, at the usual dinner hour. While waiting for dinner, they commenced playing with a shell which they extracted from a large pile of them which were thrown into the stream at the surrender, when it exploded, and both gentlemen were fatally injured. Richer had both arms and legs torn off, so that they hung by shreds. Donnellan had his left arm and elbow terribly mutilated, and also a wound in the abdomen, and a severe laceration of the left leg, and also several fingers torn off his hand. Drs. Riddell and Stewart were promptly in attendance, and did all that skill could do to alleviate their sufferings." [cite to Houston Telegraph]

6/13/1872 - [From Houston] - "The concert by Donnellan was a grand success, the elite of the city in attendance."

1/14/1874 - List of marriage licenses issues includes "T.J. Donnellan to Jessamine Hawthorn".

12/16/1875 - T.J. Donnellan of Houston mentioned as staying at Washington Hotel.

5/4/1876 - Article re Texas State Fair, section on "Fine Arts", mentions painting of "a group painted from life by Mr. Thuse Donnellan of Bastrop. It consists of a portrait of an old gentleman

Edited by tmariar
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I find it very unlikely that this is the Donnellan crypt. If it ever existed at this location, it most likely was destroyed when the frist bridge was built in 1885. Coincidentally, the brickwork of this structure looks to date from that period.

The first reason that I doubt this to be the Donnellan vault is it's size. If this structure were built in 1849, it would dwarf most residences of the period. Furthermore, the thickness of the walls (4 bricks=30+ inches) is overkill, to say the least, for a one story burial vault. Based on the thickness, this was most likely the foundation for a building or the bridge.

Secondly, if the Donnellans had built such a massive vault to bury their family wouldn't they also have their name on the structure? Assuming that this is the only entrance, shouldn't it be above the door? If you're going to spend the kind of money that this would have cost in 1849, you'd want people to know who it belonged to! If it was not the only entrance then the structure was originally even larger that previously thought, making it even more oversized for the period.

Finally, why put the family vault down near the bayou? Before the construction of Addicks and Barker dams in the 1940's, the bayou flooded even more drastically than it does today. It would seem odd that they would want their loved ones deluged every time it flooded. Also, why have the entrance in such an inconvenient location? The street level has not changed drastically over the last 158 years, nor has the general geography of the bayou. I can only imagine pallbearers scampering down the embankment with a casket and then trying to squeeze it through that tiny door.

Just my thoughts.

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I find it very unlikely that this is the Donnellan crypt. If it ever existed at this location, it most likely was destroyed when the frist bridge was built in 1885. Coincidentally, the brickwork of this structure looks to date from that period.

The first reason that I doubt this to be the Donnellan vault is it's size. If this structure were built in 1849, it would dwarf most residences of the period. Furthermore, the thickness of the walls (4 bricks=30+ inches) is overkill, to say the least, for a one story burial vault. Based on the thickness, this was most likely the foundation for a building or the bridge.

Secondly, if the Donnellans had built such a massive vault to bury their family wouldn't they also have their name on the structure? Assuming that this is the only entrance, shouldn't it be above the door? If you're going to spend the kind of money that this would have cost in 1849, you'd want people to know who it belonged to! If it was not the only entrance then the structure was originally even larger that previously thought, making it even more oversized for the period.

Finally, why put the family vault down near the bayou? Before the construction of Addicks and Barker dams in the 1940's, the bayou flooded even more drastically than it does today. It would seem odd that they would want their loved ones deluged every time it flooded. Also, why have the entrance in such an inconvenient location? The street level has not changed drastically over the last 158 years, nor has the general geography of the bayou. I can only imagine pallbearers scampering down the embankment with a casket and then trying to squeeze it through that tiny door.

Just my thoughts.

I similarly thought, "why so large?" It should be noted that the Donnellan family owned quite a large parcel of property that probably stretched all the way from the bayou here to around Market Square, a full city block away. With the bayou being a popular swimming spot at the time and the crypt apparently originally created to bury the two sons after getting killed in a accident, a rich Houstonian like J.T. Donnellan just may create a sizable memorial to his family, to bury future family members. According to the timeline above though, T.J. Donnellan apparently died around 1902, with the lawsuit against the city for infringing on his families craves not being settled until 1914, if even then. What the timeline above doesn't seem to say is whether or not the city of Houston actually obtained the ownership of the property containing the crypt itself. This may explain why the city seems to have to work around it even to this day. I don't have any doubt it's the crypt. It's clearly described several times in newspapers throughout several decades as being under the Franklin Street bridge.

I was just pointing out today to my brother, who runs TexasFreeway.com, about a photo contained in the Houston Freeways book that shows this area of downtown around 1955 or so that shows a structure right on top of this spot before the Franklin Street bridge was widened southward. It shows a blurry structure that clearly extends upward another full story high above even street level, believe it or not, and this structure is clearly visible as being at the SE corner Franklin & Lousiana, the current location of the crypt. For those who don't have the Houston Freeways book, you can view an E-Book of it at www.houstonfreeways.com. Look at the E-book section, "Downtown" book, page 8 (on the pdf). You'll see a large 1 story structure at this very spot in the PDF. It's right next to a lone dark car sitting on the Franklin Street bridge. Maybe when I have some time I can try to extract this photo out of the PDF and post it here. It's amazing to think that whatever size the original crypt was, that it may have been so large as to have the equivalent of a 2 story building, with this photo showing 1 story above street level, and the current crypt essentially one story below street level, along the banks of the Buffalo Bayou. In any case, I am more convinced that the crypt is most likely full of assorted rocks and concrete today and that's about all.

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4/7/1888 - Article on "Decoration Day" mentions that: "The graves of Henry Donellan and Ritchie, situated near the site of the old Houston and Texas Central depot, were also profusely decorated."

3/26/1896 - [suit Filed] - "T.J. Donellan et al. vs. city of Houston; trespass to try title and damages, the land being a part of fractional block No. 4, north side of Buffalo bayou, and the damages being $1000."

9/11/1897 - [suits Filed] "T.J. Donnellan et al. vs. Houston Ice and brewing company, trespass to try title, rent and damages in the sum of $500, strip of land between blocks 4 and 5 and Buffalo bayou and Washington streets, north side of Buffalo bayou."

1/23/1900 - [Houston City Council] - "From T.J. Donnellan, offering for adjustment the matter of right of way for the Louisiana street and Franklin avenue bridges and the removal of remains of his relatives. Referred to finance committee."

5/30/1900 - [Houston City Council] - "From T.J. Donnellan, asking that the city allow him a sum of money not exceeding [$300?] for the removal of the bodies of his relatives who were buried many years ago under or near where is the Franklin avenue bridge, as in building the bridge the graves have been desecrated. Referred to the finance committee."

12/4/1904 - [Real Estate Transfers] - "T.J. Donnellan and wife to [R.E. Dodson?], a tract of land at the intersection of the Louisiana and Franklin avenues bridge; [$1,250?]."

11/18/1914 - "At a meeting of the city council $100 was voted in settlement of the claim of Mrs. Jessamine Donellan. Mrs. Donellan claimed damages because of the city's use of a certain piece of property at the Franklin avenue and Louisiana street bridge. This claim has been pending against the city for a number of years."

Based on the selected items, above, I would say that the vault was most likely on the north side of the Bayou. For one, the old site of the Houston and Texas Central Depot was near where the Post Office is today. It would be unlikely that the newspaper would use this location as a reference if it was across the bayou. Secondly, Louisiana and Franklin meet on the north side of the bayou. Thirdly, though the specific location is not mentioned in the 1900 article regarding the removal of bodies, we can reasonable assume that they were on Lots 4 and 5 which the Donnellans sued the City and Houston Ice for trespass to title in 1896 and 1897, respectively. Finally, we can also resonably assume that the tract sold in 1904 was the same Lots 4 and 5. Since the bodies were removed in 1900, they had no reason to keep the property.

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If i recall i believe there used to be a Texas Historical Plaque located on Commerce between Travis and Milam on the Northern part of the street. Basically in the area by the new entrance with a canoe structure. It was removed when they remade the street and in parking spots. There is a tree next to where the plaque was located. It stated that 2 people were killed when they hit an artillery shell from a sunken ship in the area. The bodies were removed but the ship is still buried there. The ship was heading back/from Galveston. I have posted the question about the plaque about 8 months back. This was only a block away from the current crypt.

Yes, that would be it. It's right above the text "Louisiana" in the 'franklin.jpg'. Very interesting..
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If i recall i believe there used to be a Texas Historical Plaque located on Commerce between Travis and Milam on the Northern part of the street. Basically in the area by the new entrance with a canoe structure. It was removed when they remade the street and in parking spots. There is a tree next to where the plaque was located. It stated that 2 people were killed when they hit an artillery shell from a sunken ship in the area. The bodies were removed but the ship is still buried there. The ship was heading back/from Galveston. I have posted the question about the plaque about 8 months back. This was only a block away from the current crypt.

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If someone has access to the Chronicle archives, there was apparently an article published on 5/31/36 called "Buffalo Bayou's Famous Bottle Neck Hasn't Been Cleaned Out Since 1866" that discussed the Donnellan crypt.

Edited by tmariar
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Now I know this is only a cartoon map, but this famous "Birds Eye" view of Houston drawn in 1891 would encompass the Donnellan Grave Vault in it's prime, so to speak. Unfortunately, virtually nothing is labeled, but the close proximity and size of this building in this drawing map over other things in the map would indicate that this "building" was certainly smaller than all other surrounding buildings but no less a solid upright structure. This tiny building doesn't even have any windows on it. Could this be it?

crypt6.jpg

The Houston Chronicle story apparently reads:

(Buffalo Bayou's Famous Bottle Neck Hasn't Been Cleaned Out Since 1866, Houston Chronicle, May 31,1936)

"A couple of years later,(after Civil War) two of the Donnellan boys - sons of Thuse Donnellan, then a famous artist in Houston-- were playing around the bayou. The water was so low one could wade across anywhere. They found one of those bombs and began working on the detonator cap to remove it. The bomb exploded and blew the two boys to bits....."

"We gathered what we could of the remains and placed them in a coffin, which we buried in the bayou banks under what is now the Franklin Ave. Street bridge. So far as I know, that tomb still is there."

Edited by Kevin Jackson
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The same little building was there on the 1873 panoramic, though with doors and windows. Don't know if that means anything.

2119567514_ba8e098ee6_o.jpg

The Houston Chronicle story apparently reads:

(Buffalo Bayou's Famous Bottle Neck Hasn't Been Cleaned Out Since 1866, Houston Chronicle, May 31,1936)

"A couple of years later,(after Civil War) two of the Donnellan boys - sons of Thuse Donnellan, then a famous artist in Houston-- were playing around the bayou. The water was so low one could wade across anywhere. They found one of those bombs and began working on the detonator cap to remove it. The bomb exploded and blew the two boys to bits....."

"We gathered what we could of the remains and placed them in a coffin, which we buried in the bayou banks under what is now the Franklin Ave. Street bridge. So far as I know, that tomb still is there."

Yeah, that's the portion I saw, and I thought the full article would probably have more information - or at least an attribution for that quote.

From this and other sources, I initially had the impression that Henry Donnellan was a child at the time he died - but it sounds like he was actually around 29 years old.

Edited by tmariar
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My son and I went to downtown Houston today to seek out the Donnellan Grave Vault / Crypt. This crypt is located at the end of Franklin Street where it meets the bayou. It's actually underneath Franklin Street on the banks of Buffalo Bayou, under the parking lot for Chase Bank. Tim Donnellan was an early prominent Houston settler and he was buried in a large red brick vault in 1849 along the bayou's edge. Later, his wife and kids were buried there also. The crypt has surprisingly survived the initial Franklin Street wooden bridge, constructed in 1885, the later iron constructed Franklin Street bridge finished in 1907, and the later concrete constructed bridge in 1924. The remains of all the family members were moved to Glenwood Cemetary in the early 1900's, so there aren't any known remains buried there. This begs the question, why has there been so much effort through at least 4 bridge constructions to keep the crypt intact. The original brick wall and crypt door are still in place to this day just begging for deeper exploration. Like I said, the crypt is under the Franklin Street bridge at the Buffalo Bayou and is very tricky to get to because of the steep bayou walls here. I was able to get to it by going down the bridge embankment a block from Spagetti Warehouse and follow the bayou around from there.

I would like to see folks here make a discussion about this vault or other such interesting spots around Houston.

A complete write-up of the Donnellan Grave Vault by Louis F. Aulbach exists at http://www.hal-pc.org/~lfa/BB38.html.

Wow...I never knew this existed!

Maybe it's THEIR ghosts that are haunting the Spaghetti Warehouse?!!!! ZOINKS!!!!!

Time for some Scooby Snacks!!!! :lol:

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Actually, with this bad boy it wouldn't be hard at all. Not that I am suggesting/condoning/proposing/excusing such a sacrilege!

51Dxje56nEL_SS384_.jpg

LOL..Yep, that would probably do it..

Thats one of the few 18v toys I don't have yet..

I still use a 117v skill saw most of the time.

I've got a 18v sawsall, and a 18v chainsaw though..

Either would eventually maul those boards..

Of course, if they falter, I can whip out the ole

20 inch gas chainsaw. HPD may frown on that

a bit of they happen to notice.. :/

Actually, I'm sort of surprised it hasn't long already

been broken through by someone, but I guess

it's the location being hard to get to, and the lack

of suitable power toys to aid in mauling the boards.

I wouldn't mind running my metal detector across

that area, and also the bayou. No telling what I

would find.

MK

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LOL..Yep, that would probably do it..

Thats one of the few 18v toys I don't have yet..

I still use a 117v skill saw most of the time.

I've got a 18v sawsall, and a 18v chainsaw though..

Either would eventually maul those boards..

Of course, if they falter, I can whip out the ole

20 inch gas chainsaw. HPD may frown on that

a bit of they happen to notice.. :/

Actually, I'm sort of surprised it hasn't long already

been broken through by someone, but I guess

it's the location being hard to get to, and the lack

of suitable power toys to aid in mauling the boards.

I wouldn't mind running my metal detector across

that area, and also the bayou. No telling what I

would find.

MK

When my girl left me, I crept into the crypt and cried.

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In 1893, the Houston Ice and Brewing Company (also known as the Magnolia Brewery) was established. Over the years it became part of a complex of buildings stretching from Washington Avenue to Franklin Street. These ten buildings were built between 1892 and 1915 as part of Houston Ice and Brewing Company complex. Some of these buildings which included an ice plant, extended out into Buffalo Bayou. Old brick work from the original brewery building is still visible under the Franklin Street bridge.

Could that be part of the explanation as to why the brick structure is larger than you would expect a crypt to be? Is that possibly what we are looking at?

http://www.hal-pc.org/~lfa/BB27.html

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Yeah. Just kinda starange. Maybe they are part of the same structure. Cause that quote is coming from the same person who has pictures of the door to the vault on his site as well... I dunno.

Yeah, and maybe the aliens built it after they finished the pyramids. I didn't think that I had to come out and say it but, apparently, I do - THERE IS NO POSSIBLE WAY THAT THIS IS THE DONNELLAN VAULT.

Whew, that makes me feel better.

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I hope you're more butch now! :lol:

Kidding...just kidding... ;)

What is "butch?" I've heard that word applied to mannish women. How do you mean it?

I got that line from a record by Homer & Jethro. In the song, a guy in Egypt had a job building a pyramid. His girlfriend left him for the Pharoah. So he went inside the pyramid, and he "crept into the crypt and cried."

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Yeah, and maybe the aliens built it after they finished the pyramids. I didn't think that I had to come out and say it but, apparently, I do - THERE IS NO POSSIBLE WAY THAT THIS IS THE DONNELLAN VAULT.

Whew, that makes me feel better.

I gotta agree with you, but it was certainly fun getting to that conclusion!

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If i recall i believe there used to be a Texas Historical Plaque located on Commerce between Travis and Milam on the Northern part of the street. Basically in the area by the new entrance with a canoe structure. It was removed when they remade the street and in parking spots. There is a tree next to where the plaque was located. It stated that 2 people were killed when they hit an artillery shell from a sunken ship in the area. The bodies were removed but the ship is still buried there. The ship was heading back/from Galveston. I have posted the question about the plaque about 8 months back. This was only a block away from the current crypt.

Do you mean this plaque?

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how deep WAS the bayou? How deep is it now...I just cant imagine a ship (I imagine more of a small boat) would go down the bayou...I realize it has changed some, but damn, deep enough to conceal a ship?

Making an educated guess, I would say that the bayou is 10-12 feet deep. Some blockade runners had a draft as shallow as 4 feet and a low freeboard to avoid detection by those damned Yankee blockaders!

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how deep WAS the bayou? How deep is it now...I just cant imagine a ship (I imagine more of a small boat) would go down the bayou...I realize it has changed some, but damn, deep enough to conceal a ship?

The various internet descriptions of where the ship sank only say things like "short of the Allen's Landing dock" or such things, which could mean that the ship is in the general vicinity of the Franklin Street Bridge. Does anyone know where it is exactly?

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The various internet descriptions of where the ship sank only say things like "short of the Allen's Landing dock" or such things, which could mean that the ship is in the general vicinity of the Franklin Street Bridge. Does anyone know where it is exactly?

If memory serves me, it was located between the Travis and Milam street bridges, roughly where the historical marker once stood. There was an archeological "dig" in the late 1960's that recovered some artifacts from the ship. The book "Treasure's of Galveston Bay" has a section on the ship and the recovery of artifacts. I'll dig it out tonight.

Edited by neuman
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  • 3 years later...

Yeah, and maybe the aliens built it after they finished the pyramids. I didn't think that I had to come out and say it but, apparently, I do - THERE IS NO POSSIBLE WAY THAT THIS IS THE DONNELLAN VAULT.

Whew, that makes me feel better.

I gotta agree with you, but it was certainly fun getting to that conclusion!

I wrote Louis Aulbach, the guy who wrote "Buffalo Bayou: An Echo Of Houston's Wilderness Beginnings" about the controversy over the brewery and vault. This is what he said, "The ruins of the Magnolia Building (the former Magnolia Brewery) are located on the downstream edge of the modern Franklin Avenue bridge while the Donnellan Grave Vault is directly under the bridge."

Hope that helps clarify, or maybe fuel the fire. Either or.

Edited by fatesdisastr
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I wrote Louis Aulbach, the guy who wrote "Buffalo Bayou: An Echo Of Houston's Wilderness Beginnings" about the controversy over the brewery and vault. This is what he said, "The ruins of the Magnolia Building (the former Magnolia Brewery) are located on the downstream edge of the modern Franklin Avenue bridge while the Donnellan Grave Vault is directly under the bridge."

Hope that helps clarify, or maybe fuel the fire. Either or.

Oh, let's fuel it.

How close is this to the reconstruction near the new Houston Ballet building? Is the new bridge near this site?

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That's a block away. The crypt entrance can be seen from the street level during the day in a small railed opening on the edge of the bank's parking lot. I've marked the crypt location here. You can stand at this spot on the rail to see the crypt. Note the ballet center construction in the background.

Recently someone has spray-painted RIP on the crypt door. It's really annoying.

Edited by kylejack
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  • 1 year later...

Well we went down there today myself and my two 7yr old sons and it is as everyone says quite awesome and creepy ,

not a trip for everyone as the embankment is rather steep but if you can make it it is a sight to see.

The only drawback is my kids probably wont be able to sleep tonight...it scared the crap out of them...lol

We highly recommend it not only is it a ghost trek but a historical one to boot we will surely go back...enjoy the updated pics...

DSC03398.JPGDSC03385.JPGDSC03378.JPGDSC03384.JPG

DSC03396.JPGDSC03383.JPGDSC03387.JPGDSC03376.JPG

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Thanks for the new photos. I would have expected more debris down there. Perhaps it's been washed away by all the rain lately.

I have a question now: From the newspaper clips posted by sevfiv it would seem that there were 4 people killed by unexploded bombs.

However, after reading the article by Louis Aulbach posted here in Dec 2007 ( by wendyps), I believe that someone, whoever wrote the "Bottle Neck" cleaning article, was mixing information. Either that, or Louis Aulbach was unaware of any children that Thurston John Donnellan lost to a similar accident that took the life of Thurston's older brother Henry.

The following is from Louis Aulbach's piece:

Timothy Donnellan, the father and one of the early Houston settlers, died in 1849 and was buried in a vault on the "south bank of Buffalo Bayou at the west end of Franklin" according to Aulbach.

Henry Donnellan, first born son of Timothy was born in 1838 in New Orleans.

Thurston (Thuse) Donnellan, last born son of Timothy was born in 1845 in Houston. Second son Benjamin had apparently died young.

In February 1867, Henry Donnellan and his business partner A.C. Richer were playing with an unexploded bomb when it detonated, blowing off Richer's arms and legs and seriously wounding Donnellan. Both men later died and Henry was buried in the vault with his father.

In 1875 Thurston Donnellan married Jessamine Hawthorne. In Aulbach's article there is no mention of their having any children.

Thurston Donnellan died in 1908. Jessamine Donnellan died in a Houston hospital in 1937.

Aulbach does state that in December 1901, the Donnellan family remains were removed from the vault by Wall and Stabe Undertakers and re-interred in Glenwood Cemetery although he does not provide a reference to the information source.

The second newspaper article in post #41 says that two young boys, sons of Thuse Donolon (sic) were killed while playing with an unexploded bomb. I'd have thought that there would be something in that newspaper article about the same type accidental death of Thuse's older brother Henry.

Of course, maybe Louis Aulbach got it all wrong.

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Does anybody REALLY believe that a crypt from 1849 was left in place when the bridge was constructed in 1907? Even if this was not a part of the brewery (which I still believe that it was) every building in this area had a basement that this could have been a part of. The "fact" that a majority was on the downstream edge of the modern bridge is not proof that this was not part of the brewery. The 1907 bridge was built by the brewery and included part of the building. The "balcony" of old Power Tools (I know that I'm dating myself with that!) is part of the brewery and built into the bridge under street level.

Finally, if anyone has ever seen a brick from the 1840's, they look nothing like those that construct this supposed crypt.

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  • The title was changed to Donnellan Grave Vault/Crypt

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