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Galveston 1915 Hurricane Photographs

Highlights
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    Wreckage of the causeway from the north end of the arched bridge to the mainland.

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    View down Q street with the damage to the buildings from the hurricane.

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    View of the County Courthouse after the hurricane. Approximately 3000 people stayed in the Courthouse during the storm.

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    Causeway wreckage on the Santa Fe right-of-way at Virginia Point.

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    Wrecked semaphore bridge, pipe, poles, and car caught on the causeway during its hurricane caused collapse.

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    Work, supply, and passenger trains crossing temporary trestle.

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    A man lies in a cot, surrounded by the debris from his former home.

These 124 photographs capture the devastation wrought by the hurricane that hit Galveston Island on August 17, 1915. The collection features black-and-white and sepia-toned images of destroyed buildings, streets, railroads, causeway, and beachfront, taken by Rex Dunbar Frazier in the immediate aftermath of the storm.

Frazier, a representative of Stone & Webster Engineering, was called in to collect storm damage data and document the scene. Most of the photographs date from August 18, 1915, although many are undated. Some later photographs show repairs underway a month or two later. The photos were removed from a scrapbook for preservation purposes, but the text from the original captions has been retained.

The Galveston Hurricane of 1900 is well known for having killed over 10,000 people on the island, but less well known is the fact that in 1915, Galveston was again hit by a devastating hurricane. This one caused $50 million worth of property damage, yet resulted in only 275 deaths. The low loss of life has been attributed to the protection offered by the seawall, which was constructed following the 1900 hurricane.

Some information for this description was drawn from the Handbook of Texas Online.

The original materials are available in UH Libraries’ Special Collections in the Galveston 1915 Hurricane Photographs.

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