Vocabulary: barrier island - body of land that protects a coast from a large body of water
hurricane - tropical cyclone storm, usually over water, with winds over 74 mph
The Story of “The Hurricane” Galveston was built on a barrier island. The city became a leading port in Texas because it had a very wide and naturally deep harbor. Ships of all sizes could navigate through without concern of dragging bottom or becoming stuck on a sand bar. Ships carried Texas ‘goods’ from the city to other lands. The port there was also used to bring needed supplies and equipment into Texas. Many Europeans coming to Texas entered the state at Galveston.
Because Galveston is on the Gulf of Mexico, hurricanes were and still are a threat to the city. On September 8, 1900, a very strong hurricane hit the coast. This storm has been the worst recorded natural disaster in the history of the USA. Winds reached 135, category 4, miles per hour (MPH). Rain was heavy. Water flooded the city. Between 6,000 and 8,000 people died in the storm.
More than 2,600 homes were destroyed and 1,000 more were damaged. Business suffered too! An estimated $30 million worth of property was lost. That would be about $700 Million today.
City leaders wanted to make sure the city did not suffer another disaster like this. They took two steps. They added sand to the island to make the city higher. They also built a long sea wall. The wall protected the city from the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Rebuilding the city took huge amounts of time and money. During the rebuilding time, other ports in the state became more important.
The effort to rebuild the city led to a new form of city government. The governor of Texas chose the officials and named the position ‘commissioners’. Each one took control of one major task, such as public works or finance. They worked independently and were successful in rebuilding Galveston.
Floods, Winds, and Flying Timbers
By mid-afternoon, water from the Gulf covered half of the city streets
A tidal wave lifted homes from their foundations
People were killed and injured by flying timber, bricks, and slate
This island is a barrier island that protects the coast from the tides of the Gulf of Mexico
Galveston was a leading port around 1900
It was also a major entry port for immigrants in the late 1800s
Named after Bernardo de Galvez, in the late 1700s
Galveston Bay is the largest bay on the Texas coast
1st electric lighting in Texas
1st telephone call made in Texas
1st ‘Official’ baseball game played in Texas
On April 21, 1868, the 1st account of a local base ball game was recorded by the Houston Post. At the San Jacinto Battlegrounds near Houston, where General Sam Houston led Texas to victory in the War for Independence from Mexico in 1836, a base ball game was played on the anniversary of the date now celebrated as Texas Independence Day. In another obvious rout that would rival the outcome of the original battle on that same site, the Houston Stonewalls blew away the Galveston Robert E. Lees by a score of 35-2.
It has the oldest continuously run newspaper - the Galveston News , since 1842
Became Texas’ leading port city
A series of piers allowed ships to dock easily
Cotton, farm supplies, and other cargo were traded
250,000 immigrants from Europe entered the U.S. through Galveston