Hurricane Galveston: The Deadliest Day in American History

Transfer the body to a barge for burial at sea. (NOAA/Wikimedia Commons Photo Library)

September 8, 1900 was the deadliest day in American history when Galveston, Texas was hit by the most devastating hurricane ever to hit the Gulf Coast. became. Roads were flooded, homes were destroyed, and between 8,000 and 12,000 people died.

A Storm Is Coming

Over a week before her hurricane hit, a ship some 1,000 miles off the West Indies found the weather “bad”. While this isn’t exactly a warning sign, the changeable weather turned dire as soon as it reached North America. The storm hit the Caribbean Sea and originated off the coast of Florida, but was not as powerful as the Gulf of Mexico storm.

It didn’t help that the United States was just two years away from the Spanish-American War, which ended with Spain’s renunciation of its claim to Cuba. The Caribbean country has become the supreme authority on storm tracking, and envy has led the director of the US Weather Service to “block the flow of data from Cuba to the United States.” He came to Galveston on his way up the east coast. To insult the situation in a completely different country was just an act of cutting the coast.

No Warning

On September 6, officials finally suspected that a storm was heading towards Galveston, but by then high winds had paralyzed the town’s telegraph lines, and no warning was given. there was no The only word that came through was from Captain Halsey, the Louisiana captain who had left New Orleans that day to observe the movement of the hurricane he had spotted there.

When local media released information about the hurricane, they said it was just a regular summer storm. In a twist of tragic irony, Bureau of Meteorology official Isaac M. Klein told the audience that the storm’s waves were not strong enough to cause significant damage and ultimately lost his wife to the hurricane. Katherine Vedder Poles remembered seeing a wall of water off the coast:
Everyone was going about their business as usual, but about eleven o’clock her brother Jacob and cousin Allen Brooks came in with a report from the beach. The bay was very rough and the tide was very high… At about 2:30 p.m. [his brothers] came running and saw that the bay looked like a great gray wall about fifteen meters high, I cried out in excitement as I was slowly making my way towards the island.

Destruction Begins

A Category 4 hurricane hits Galveston in the deadliest day in American history. Storm surges over 15 feet high completely submerged the city, and winds of 145 miles per hour blew the roof shingles at breakneck speed. Homes were demolished as the inhabitants of Galveston, human and otherwise, struggled to survive.

The most terrifying moment of the hurricane was when waves hit her two dormitories in St. Mary’s. When the bodies of about 100 children who lived there were found the next day, rescuers were surprised to find that they had all been tied up. It was later discovered that the 10 nuns on duty were desperately trying to tie the children with clotheslines to keep them from being washed away by the waves. Only three of the St. Mary’s boys managed to escape.

Galveston was once home to some of the finest housing in the world, but one day it became a city of refugees. About 80% of the city’s population had no place to sleep, and an estimated one in five died.

Raised from the rubble

On September 9, Galveston was in rubble and we had no choice but to try to pick it up. Debris and bodies littered the streets, and when not enough volunteers were found to clear the rubble, 50 black men were held at gunpoint and forced to load 700 bodies each onto a barge.

The barge was then taken out to sea and the bodies were casually thrown into the water. But when the bodies washed up on the shore, the city was forced to find an alternative disposal method. Instead, they planted firewood where the corpses piled up, burned them day and night, and paid the laborers entrusted with this nasty duty-free whiskey to dull their senses. The 4,444 survivors who wished to remain in Galveston were housed in makeshift barracks. 17,000 people have settled in places where the military can hide for the next two weeks. The City of Galveston’s Building Commission offered some applicants to rebuild the budget, but most were forced to settle for “blowing away” salvaged from the city’s rubble. On September 13th, with basic water supplies restored, cities across the country donated to Galveston’s recovery efforts. This is believed to have cost the city an estimated $138.6 billion.

The Aftermath of Hurricane Galveston

Galveston was devastated by the 1900 Hurricane, but it also learned valuable lessons. The city hired engineers Alfred Noble, Henry Martin Robert and Ripley HC to design a seawall 17 feet high and 16 miles wide to prevent future storms. Construction began in 1902 but was completed in 1963. Thanks to their efforts, only 53 people lost their lives in a similar hurricane in 1915.

As the years went by, people stopped talking about his 1900 Hurricane His Galveston, unwilling to relive the trauma of that day, but the storm’s destructive power left forecasters with political obligations. could not be instructed to allow Today, Galveston remembers the plight of its first residents, who survived her one of the most terrifying storms of the 20th century. In 2000, the city held an annual memorial service for this storm, dedicating a sculpture depicting a close-knit family to the Galveston Seawall.