How the 1900 Storm shaped Galveston
Galveston’s sudden destruction in the 1900 storm helped create a jewel on the Texas coast that you can explore endlessly. She feels like a Victorian coastal city preserved in amber, almost like a Pompeii. (To skip a little history lesson and get to enjoying Galveston, click here.)
On September 8, 1900, Galveston had a population of 36,000 people and was flush with financial power and prestige. When sun rose the next morning, an estimated 6,000 to 12,000 had died in the deadliest natural disaster in US history. In comparison, Pompeii lost only 2,000 of her 20,000 residents in the eruption of Vesuvius.
Galveston before and after the storm
Maybe if Galveston had aged more gradually, she wouldn’t be so unique. Before Sept 8, 1900, Galveston was the belle of the southern port cities. With a stranglehold on shipping west of New Orleans, she built an ornate business district in the Strand, palatial mansions and houses of worship that looked like stone wedding cakes.
After the storm, the area north of Broadway was torn up but a wall of debris from beach front neighborhoods mitigated the storm surge somwhat. The area south of Broadway looked like a weed eater whacked it down to the soil. Human and animal carcasses lay where the water had receded. [Read more…]