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THE GREAT STORM

ORIGINAL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE DEVASTATING HURRICANE OF SEPTEMBER 8, 1900

ROSENBERG LIBRARY GALVESTON, TEXAS


The hurricane of September 8, 1900 destroyed Galveston, Texas. As the nation’s deadliest recorded natural disaster, the 1900 Storm claimed upwards of 8,000 lives on Galveston Island and several thousand more on the mainland. Sustained winds were recorded up to 84 miles per hour with wind gusts reaching an estimated 120 miles per hour. A storm surge with a maximum depth of 15.7 feet covered every part of the city. The 1900 Storm destroyed 2,636 houses and wrecked about a thousand more. Property losses in Galveston ran an estimated $28-30 million. Buildings that were not destroyed sustained heavy damage.


Rising waters from the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay met in the city’s east end that Saturday afternoon. Persons who didn’t leave their homes close to the Gulf were trapped and most likely drowned. By nightfall, Galveston lost electrical power and contact with the outside world. As the winds and water subsided, they left the remnants of a once-great city. Remarkably, there was little looting as authorities placed the city under martial law. Despite later claims, only a handful of individuals were executed for robbing valuables from bodies. An effort to bury at sea approximately 750 bodies aboard barges was unsuccessful, requiring workers to burn hundreds of bodies in funeral pyres as they removed piles of wreckage.


SEARCHING FOR THE DEAD, SUNDAY MORNING (ON THE STRAND)


RECOVERING A BODY BURIED UNDER DEBRIS


18TH AND AVENUE N LOOKING NORTHEAST


BARGE CARRYING BODIES OUT TO SEA TWO DAYS AFTER THE STORM


BARGES TRANSPORTING THE DECEASED FOR BURIAL AT SEA


MAN IDENTIFYING HIS WIFE BY HER RINGS


TEMPORARY GRAVES ALONG THE BARREN SHORES


CARRYING THE DEAD AT 22ND STREET WHARF


REMOVING THE JEWELRY OF VICTIMS EAST BEACH


1900 Storm Presentation