On September 8, 1900, Galveston was wiped off the map by the most deadly natural disaster in history known today as The Great Storm.
One-third of the city was completely destroyed and the rest in shambles, 600 buildings were destroyed or left crippled uninhabitable, 6,000 people were killed, there were so many ,conventional burials were impossible..This horrific day still looms large in the island’s collective memory. The Great Storm a film documenting the events can be viewed at Pier 21 Theatre in the Strand district and is well worth seeing.
The survivors that stayed banded together and raised the entire level of the city by eight feet, 17 feet at the Seawall, slanting the ground so water would run off into the bay. (Interesting note: The engineering and hard work was so successful that when the next hurricane came in 1915 just as powerful as The Great storm of 1900, the city was safe and only eight people were killed.
Once Houston dug it’s own ship channel in 1917 and with the beginning of the prohibition era , Galveston evolved into a gambling and drinking resort town. At the high end was Sam and Rose Maceo’s star-studded Balinese Room, and at the low end were numerous saloons for wayward sailors. This lasted until 1957 when the Texas Rangers raided the entire town. The island languished for years after.
Today The Magic is Back
Even after the devastating arrival of Hurricane Ike September 13, 2008