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Hello...ran across this forum while searching for some info. on the following:

My husband and I recently visited the Houston area and we were out and about. We found the Pignataro Estate in Hitchcock and took some photos (love the horse statue). I found some basic info. on the Estate itself but my mother-in-law, who use to live in the area, says there was some movie filming done there and also mentioned some murders that occured at this location. I have been searching for days for any info on either "story". Can anyone fill me in or direct me to more info?

Love your site......Houston is the largest city I have ever visited (in many years of travel) and I was so fasicinated with it plus all of that wonderful history I have read about over the years.

I will keep up with the forums but I can be contacted at ms.sdrose@hotmail.com. (Even if what I have heard are just "ghost stories"- please let me know)...Thanks

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This is from the Galveston Daily News, September 20, 1981:

Santa Fe castle

full of mystery

Nestled in a grove of pecan

trees in the small community of

Santa Fe is a landmark that has

amazed motorists traveling

Highway 6 between Galveston

and Alvin for many years.

Incongruous as it seems, there

stands a stately castle that conjures

up visions of Lancelot and

Guinevere, knights and dragons

and the mystical days of yore.

Only the steady hum of traffic

outside the castle gates disclaims

the illusion of ancient

time's.

Santa Fe has practically as

many legends about the castle as

England has about King Arthur,

but it is doubtful any of them are

true.

One of the more romantic

stories maintains that a wealthy

Texan had the castle dismantled

and imported from Europe, then

reassembled at its present location

as a haven for his mistress.

According to another fanciful

tale, an eccentric woman built

the house to live out a childhood

fantasy. As the story goes, she

never actually resided there, but

visited the castle for a few hours

each week.

Actually, the complete story

may never be known, since the

original owners are dead. But,

according to Galveston County

deed records and people familiar

with the property, the castle's

history began with a man from

Denmark by the name of John

Christensen.

A r e m a r k a b l e m a n .

Christensen came the the United

States in 1891 with assets totaling

$16 and no knowledge of the

English language. He worked on

the Galveston docks and saved

as much of his money as possible.

In 1899, he bought a bicycle

shop which eventually became

the first Ford automobile

dealership on the island, John

Christensen and Co., later known

as A.J. Rasmussen and Sons.

Christensen's obituary in the

Dec. 15, 1934 edition of The

Galveston Daily News states

that his hobby was farming the

70-acre tract of land in Alta

Loma that is the present site of

the castle.

He is credited with contributing

a great deal to the betterment

of working conditions on

the mainland. It is said he invited

farmers from all over the

county to his Alta Loma farm for

a demonstration of the first Ford

tractor.

In 1930, he retired from his

business and devoted most of the

remaining four years of his life

to farming.

Christensen had been a

widower since the death of his

first wife in 1912. In 1930, he

married NMeska Vogel, to whom

his left his beloved farm.

It was she who would build the

castle.

Many people believe Mrs.

Christensen built the castle intending

to give it to the Catholic

church as a retirement home for

aged nuns. When the church did

not desire the property for that

purpose, she elected to make it

her home.

The exact date of the castle's

construction is uncertain. According

to Lawrence Henckle of

Henckle Lumber Co., construct

i o n b e g a n soon a f t e r

Christensen's death

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This is from the Galveston Daily News, September 20, 1981:

Santa Fe castle

full of mystery

Nestled in a grove of pecan

trees in the small community of

Santa Fe is a landmark that has

amazed motorists traveling

Highway 6 between Galveston

and Alvin for many years.

Incongruous as it seems, there

stands a stately castle that conjures

up visions of Lancelot and

Guinevere, knights and dragons

and the mystical days of yore.

Only the steady hum of traffic

outside the castle gates disclaims

the illusion of ancient

time's.

Santa Fe has practically as

many legends about the castle as

England has about King Arthur,

but it is doubtful any of them are

true.

One of the more romantic

stories maintains that a wealthy

Texan had the castle dismantled

and imported from Europe, then

reassembled at its present location

as a haven for his mistress.

According to another fanciful

tale, an eccentric woman built

the house to live out a childhood

fantasy. As the story goes, she

never actually resided there, but

visited the castle for a few hours

each week.

Actually, the complete story

may never be known, since the

original owners are dead. But,

according to Galveston County

deed records and people familiar

with the property, the castle's

history began with a man from

Denmark by the name of John

Christensen.

A r e m a r k a b l e m a n .

Christensen came the the United

States in 1891 with assets totaling

$16 and no knowledge of the

English language. He worked on

the Galveston docks and saved

as much of his money as possible.

In 1899, he bought a bicycle

shop which eventually became

the first Ford automobile

dealership on the island, John

Christensen and Co., later known

as A.J. Rasmussen and Sons.

Christensen's obituary in the

Dec. 15, 1934 edition of The

Galveston Daily News states

that his hobby was farming the

70-acre tract of land in Alta

Loma that is the present site of

the castle.

He is credited with contributing

a great deal to the betterment

of working conditions on

the mainland. It is said he invited

farmers from all over the

county to his Alta Loma farm for

a demonstration of the first Ford

tractor.

In 1930, he retired from his

business and devoted most of the

remaining four years of his life

to farming.

Christensen had been a

widower since the death of his

first wife in 1912. In 1930, he

married NMeska Vogel, to whom

his left his beloved farm.

It was she who would build the

castle.

Many people believe Mrs.

Christensen built the castle intending

to give it to the Catholic

church as a retirement home for

aged nuns. When the church did

not desire the property for that

purpose, she elected to make it

her home.

The exact date of the castle's

construction is uncertain. According

to Lawrence Henckle of

Henckle Lumber Co., construct

i o n b e g a n soon a f t e r

Christensen's death

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  • 7 months later...
Hello...ran across this forum while searching for some info. on the following:

My husband and I recently visited the Houston area and we were out and about. We found the Pignataro Estate in Hitchcock and took some photos (love the horse statue). I found some basic info. on the Estate itself but my mother-in-law, who use to live in the area, says there was some movie filming done there and also mentioned some murders that occured at this location. I have been searching for days for any info on either "story". Can anyone fill me in or direct me to more info?

Love your site......Houston is the largest city I have ever visited (in many years of travel) and I was so fasicinated with it plus all of that wonderful history I have read about over the years.

I will keep up with the forums but I can be contacted at ms.sdrose@hotmail.com. (Even if what I have heard are just "ghost stories"- please let me know)...Thanks

yo man im 18 years old nd i stay about 20 minutes from this hell hole yo nd my gurl friends brother in law cut the ppl that live theres grass so they let his family go nd swip at their pool yo im from san juan, puerto rico nd shyt we was there swimmin yesterday june 9 2009 no bullshyt i knew a lil bit bout this shyt nd it looked scary as hell yo but i wanted to kno more bout this place the people that adopted me my dad friend goes ghost hunting so i know a lil shyt about orbs nd shyt nd sum other stuff but i went out by the gate to get the correct spelling of the estate nd for the first time i felt like i was bein watched wen i knew i wasnt it felt like there was sumone breathing on my shoulder nd it sounded like heavy footsteps in the gravel shyt i felt like sumone or sumthing didnt have a problem with us bein there but was also bothered by us at the same time :o im scared

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yo man im 18 years old nd i stay about 20 minutes from this hell hole yo nd my gurl friends brother in law cut the ppl that live theres grass so they let his family go nd swip at their pool yo im from san juan, puerto rico nd shyt we was there swimmin yesterday june 9 2009 no bullshyt i knew a lil bit bout this shyt nd it looked scary as hell yo but i wanted to kno more bout this place the people that adopted me my dad friend goes ghost hunting so i know a lil shyt about orbs nd shyt nd sum other stuff but i went out by the gate to get the correct spelling of the estate nd for the first time i felt like i was bein watched wen i knew i wasnt it felt like there was sumone breathing on my shoulder nd it sounded like heavy footsteps in the gravel shyt i felt like sumone or sumthing didnt have a problem with us bein there but was also bothered by us at the same time im scared

:lol: :lol: :lol:

Niche, quit messin' around.

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:lol::lol::lol:

Niche, quit messin' around.

ohmygod That is Too funny, yo.

Does anyone have an approximate address to this place? I tried to find it on google maps but it's kinda hard when all I have to go on is "on hwy 6 between Galveston and Alvin". That could take forever.

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ohmygod That is Too funny, yo.

Does anyone have an approximate address to this place? I tried to find it on google maps but it's kinda hard when all I have to go on is "on hwy 6 between Galveston and Alvin". That could take forever.

Here you go.

Bing!

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I had posted this earlier somewhere, but Franco Pignataro's family is the owner of Franca's (formerly Franco's) Italian Restaurant on Nasa Road 1. Mr. Pignataro is a concrete sculptor and did most of the decorations on the restaurant, as well as several on the castle grounds.

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I had posted this earlier somewhere, but Franco Pignataro's family is the owner of Franca's (formerly Franco's) Italian Restaurant on Nasa Road 1. Mr. Pignataro is a concrete sculptor and did most of the decorations on the restaurant, as well as several on the castle grounds.

The Pignataro's also had a Franco's restaurant in Santa Fe just down the street from the castle. This restaurant also had those concrete sculptures and signature interior concrete features. I remember that the chef, a real italian guy, lived in a residence above the restaurant. The building was demolished in the early 1980's. It could have possibly been damaged by hurricane Alicia.

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  • 1 month later...

I had posted this earlier somewhere, but Franco Pignataro's family is the owner of Franca's (formerly Franco's) Italian Restaurant on Nasa Road 1. Mr. Pignataro is a concrete sculptor and did most of the decorations on the restaurant, as well as several on the castle grounds.

Franco's daughter, Franca, now operates/manages the re-named restaurant. If you saw the interior or exterior, you would know immediately the connection to the castle.

Great food!

BTW: When is "Talk Like a Pirate Day"?

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