Atlantis Online
December 01, 2023, 07:11:35 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Ice Age blast 'ravaged America'
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  

Galveston Hurricane of 1900

Pages: 1 2 3 [4]   Go Down
Author Topic: Galveston Hurricane of 1900  (Read 5618 times)
Jessie Phallon
Superhero Member
Posts: 4695

« Reply #45 on: September 08, 2007, 04:05:38 pm »

Timber and scaffolding litter the scene at Pier 21.

Tuesday, Sept. 11, 1900: Galveston wiped out

Posted Friday, September 23rd, 2005

Word of the terrible hurricane that struck Galveston, Texas, on Sept. 8, 1900, reached Minneapolis Tribune readers on Sunday, Sept. 9. The scale of the disaster was made clear to readers two days later in this eyewitness account on page one. The word “hurricane” is used just once; “tempest” and “storm” were evidently the preferred terms for the nameless killer:

Waters of the Gulf of Mexico Submerge and Tor-
nado Levels Galveston, Tex., and Sweep Over
Mainland as Far as Houston.


Whole Families Are Either Killed Like Rats in a
Trap or Are Swept Away by the
Angry Waves.


Nearly a Whole Command of United States Soldiers
Meet Death – Five Thousand Persons May
Have Been Lost.

By Wire from Houston, Tex., Sept. 11

Richard Spillane, a well known Galveston newspaper man and day correspondent of the Associated Press in that city, who reached Houston yesterday after a terrible experience, gave the following account yesterday of the disaster at Galveston:

“One of the most awful tragedies of modern times has visited Galveston. The city is in ruins and the dead will number probably 1,000. I am just from the city, having been commissioned by the mayor and citizens’ committee to get in touch with the outside world and appeal for help. Houston was the nearest point at which working telegraph instruments could be found, the wires, as well as nearly all the buildings between here and the Gulf of Mexico, being wrecked.

“When I left Galveston, shortly before noon yesterday, the people were organizing for the prompt burial of the dead, distribution of food and all necessary work after a period of disaster.

“The wreck of Galveston was brought about by the tempest so terrible that no words can adequately describe its intensity and by a flood which turned the city into a raging sea. The weather bureau records show that the wind attained a velocity of 84 miles an hour, when the measuring instrument blew away, so it is impossible to tell what was the maximum.

The storm surge of the nameless hurricane reduced much of Galveston to rubble – and left thousands dead. (AP photo)

“The storm began at 2 o’clock Saturday morning. Previous to that a great storm had been raging in the gulf and the tide was very high. The wind at first came from the north, and was in direct opposition to the force from the gulf. While the storm in the gulf piled the water upon the beach-side of the city, the north wind piled the water from the bay on the bay part of the city.

“About noon it became evident that the city was going to be visited with disaster. Hundreds of residences along the beach front were hurriedly abandoned, the families fleeing to dwellings in higher portions of the city. Every home was opened to the refugees, black or white. The winds were rising constantly and it rained in torrents. The wind was so fierce that the rain cut like a knife.


“By 3 o’clock the waters of the gulf and bay met, and by dark the entire city was submerged. The flooding of the electric light plant and the gas plant left the city in darkness. To go upon the streets was to court death. The winds were then at cyclonic velocity, roofs, cisterns, portions of buildings, telegraph poles were falling and the noise of the winds and the crashing of buildings were terrifying in the extreme.

The wind and water rose steadily from dark until 1:45 o’clock Sunday morning. During all this time the people of Galveston were like rats in traps. The highest portion of the city was four to five feet under water, while in the great majority of cases the streets were submerged to a depth of 16 feet. To leave a house was to drown. To remain was to court death in the wreckage.

“Such a night of agony has seldom been equaled. Without apparent reason the waters suddenly began to subside at 1:45 a.m. Within 20 minutes, they had gone down two feet, and before daylight the streets were practically freed of the dark waters.

“In the meantime the wind had moved to the southwest. Very few if any buildings escaped injury. There is hardly a habitable dry house in the city. When the people who had escaped death went out at daylight to view the work of the tempest and the floods they saw the most horrible sights imaginable. In the three blocks from Avenue N to Avenue P, in Tremont street, I saw eight bodies. Four corpses were in one yard.

“The whole of the business front for three blocks in from the gulf was stripped of every vestige of habitation, the dwellings, the great bathing establishments, the Olympia and every structure were either carried out to sea or its ruins made into a pyramid in the center of the town, according to the vagaries of the storm.


“The first hurried glance over the city showed that the largest structures, supposed to be the most substantially built, suffered the greatest. The Orphans’ Home, Twenty-first street and Avenue M, fell like a house of cards. How many dead children and refugees are in the ruins could not be ascertained.

“Of the sick in St. Mary’s Infirmity, together with attendants, only eight are understood to have been saved. The Old Woman’s Home, on Rosenberg avenue, collapsed; the Rosenberg school house is a mass of wreckage. The Ball high school is but an empty shell, crushed and broken. Every church in the city, with possibly one or two exceptions, is in ruins.

“At the forts nearly all the soldiers are reported dead, they having been in temporary quarters which gave them no protection against the tempest or the flood. No report has been received from the Catholic orphan asylum, down the island, but it seems impossible that it could have withstood the hurricane. If it fell, all the inmates were no doubt lost, for there was no aid within a mile.

“The bay front from end to end is in ruins. Nothing but piling and the wreck of great warehouses remain. The elevators are damaged by the water. The life saving station at Fort Point was carried away, the crew being swept across the bay, 14 miles to Texas City.

The Gresham House, center, now known as Bishop’s Palace, was relatively unscathed amid the debris. Sacred Heart Catholic Church, at right, was heavily damaged. (AP photo)

“I saw Capt. Haines yesterday and he told me that his wife and one of his crew were drowned. The shore at Texas City contains enough wreckage to rebuild a city. Eight persons were picked up there alive. Five corpses were also picked up. There were three fatalities in Texas City. In addition to the living and the dead, which the storm cast up at Texas City, caskets and coffins from one of the cemeteries at Galveston were being fished out of the water there yesterday.

How many more corpses are there will not be known until the search is finished. The cotton mills, the bagging factory, the gas works, the electric light works and nearly all the industrial establishments of the city are either wrecked or crippled. The flood left a slime about one inch deep over the whole city and unless fast progress is made in burying corpses and carcasses of animals there is danger of pestilence.

“Some of the stories of escapes are miraculous. William Nisbett, a cotton man, was buried in the ruins of the cotton exchange saloon, and when dug out in the morning had no further injury than a few bruised fingers.

“It will take a week to tabulate the dead and the missing, and to get anything near an approximate idea of the monetary loss. It is safe to assume that one-half of the property of the city is wiped out and that one-half of the residents have to face absolute poverty.”
« Last Edit: September 08, 2007, 04:35:37 pm by Jessie Phallon » Report Spam   Logged
Pages: 1 2 3 [4]   Go Up
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy