Monday, July 20, 2009

Galveston Island

We took a trip this weekend to Galveston Island with the entire family. The kids and I had never been there. Chad's only visit was to help with Hurricane Ike clean up efforts. The island is 27 miles long and at it's widest point is only 3 miles. People began to set up permanent residence in 1816 and it soon became a vacation spot for the rich. Galveston also had hopes of becoming a huge sea port for the third coast. Then on September 8th, 1900 a hurricane hit the island and it's huge storm surge destroyed almost the entire city. Since there was no way to track hurricanes in 1900, no one was able to evacuate or even prepare for the storm and over 6,000 people were killed making it the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.
Then almost 108 years to the day, Hurricane Ike devastated Galveston in September of last year. Since it has only been 10 months since the storm, a lot of buildings remain condemned, empty, or partially rebuilt. We printed out a coupon to visit the Maritime Museum only to find that it had been completely destroyed. Maybe a little note on the website informing visitors that the museum no longer exists would be in order, just a thought.

My favorite part of the trip was driving up and down the streets looking at the Victorian style houses. I would say one in 5 had been rebuilt/restored since the storm. Some of the houses stood exactly as Ike had left them, battered and boarded with porches and balconies on the verge of collapse. Some of the houses had tenants but many of them had been abandoned. Then there were the houses with "pink slips." These had been condemned and were to be demolished. Many of the restored houses used to look like this...
Above is a photo from before the storm I found on a blog called "Coto de Texas." All of the 100 year old trees that lined the streets and surrounded the houses were killed by the surge of salt water. Here is how the streets look now...

All the "before" pics came from the blog I mentioned, I took the rest...


Before Ike...After Ike...









The blue line on the step is the Ike water line...




Before...
After...


Before...
After...

Before...
After...

The majority of the houses looked like this...

Condemned building...
We saw the "Elissa", an iron hulled ship from 1877...
These are the masts of the Elissa with a cruise ship in the background...
We ate at "The Original Mexican Restaurant" which opened in 1916...

Ike water line...We then went to a drug store/soda fountain and had treats.


I'll let the kids tell you about what they ate...

Don't you love how everyone answers for Della in their own "Della voice?" No wonder she doesn't talk! And yes, Archer is practicing for his audition for Mary Poppins II should they ever decide to make one. He also likes to greet Chad with "'Ello Guv'nah!"

We wanted to make a few other stops, but then this happened...

The water we were driving in was about 12" deep. We had a really fun time and we can't wait to go back. Someday, when we all have lots of money, we could rent a beach house on the island and have a family reunion. Someday...

2 comments:

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Galveston is cool. We actually only visited ONCE the whole time we lived in Texas. Most of my Galveston experience was from picking my brother up off his mission in the early 90's--he lived there for six months.

If you want a less crowded, cleaner beach experience, go to Quintana instead.

Allison said...

Thanks for the travel log. I would love to visit it sometime.

PS. Does Archer have a British accent in that video?