Galveston Flood of 1900

Introduction

DALLAS, Tex., Sept. 8 -- All Texas is in the keenest state of doubt and uncertainty to-night concerning the fate of Galveston Island and city. There is a suspicion that an awful calamity rests behind the lack of information from the Gulf coast. It is rumored here that immense destruction has befallen Galveston and other places.

It is said that the bridges leading from the mainland to the island have been swept away by the terrible force of the wind and the rolling up of the water in the bay. The bridges are four in number, three for railroad use and one the Galveston County public wagon and pedestrian bridge. It seems hardly credible that all these bridges could be swept away without the city suffering tremendously in the loss of buildings, general property, and lives.

Not a wire is working late Galveston, either telegraph or telephone, and as all bridges carried wires, the fears that all these structures is gone is strengthened....

Extracted from: The New York Times, September 9, 1900

National History Standards

Materials compiled in this document can be used by educators to fulfill the following National History Standards for Grades 5-12:

Era 7: The Emergence of Modern America (1890-1930)

STANDARD 3: How the United States changed from the end of World War I to the eve of the Great Depression.

Standard 3B: The student understands how a modern capitalist economy emerged in the 1920s.

5-12: Explain how principles of scientific management and technological innovations, including assembly lines, rapid transit, household appliances, and radio, continued to transform production, work, and daily life. [Examine the influence of ideas] 
9-12
: Analyze the new business downtowns, the development of suburbs, and the role of transportation in changing urban life. [Explain historical continuity and change] 

Primary Resources

  1. DESCRIPTION: Handwritten letter unsigned,  not addressed, written during the beginning and height of the Storm
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: [Sep 8, 1900]
    SOURCE: 1900 Storm Online Manuscript Exhibit
    REPOSITORY: Galveston and Texas History Center at the Rosenberg Library

  2. DESCRIPTION: Galveston May Be Wiped Out by Storm
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 9, 1900
    SOURCE: Historical New York Times

  3. DESCRIPTION: Great Disaster at Galveston
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 10, 1900
    SOURCE: Historical New York Times

  4. DESCRIPTIONPanoramic view of Tremont Hotel, Galveston
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: Filmed ca. September 11-19, 1900, in Galveston, Texas. United States : Edison Manufacturing Co., 1900
    SUMMARY FROM AMERICAN MEMORY: From Edison films catalog: This picture shows several buildings which were wrecked and also shows a rear view of this hotel, which is on the highest point of land in Galveston, and in which several thousand people were saved. 
    PLAYBACK: Information about Video Playback
    REPRODUCTION: How to Order Copies of Films | Sound Recordings
    COPYRIGHTCopyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCEInventing Entertainment: The Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division Washington, D. C.

  5. DESCRIPTIONBird's-eye view of dock front, Galveston
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: United States : Edison Manufacturing Co., 1900
    SUMMARY FROM AMERICAN MEMORY: From Edison films catalog: Showing dismantled cars, wrecked warehouses, schooners and tugs that had been stranded on the docks; also the tents that had been rigged up for the poor people who had been left entirely homeless.
    PLAYBACK: Information about Video Playback
    REPRODUCTION: How to Order Copies of Films | Sound Recordings
    COPYRIGHTCopyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCEInventing Entertainment: The Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division Washington, D. C.

  6. DESCRIPTIONPanorama of wreckage of water front
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: United States : Edison Manufacturing Co., 1900.
    SUMMARY FROM AMERICAN MEMORY: From Edison films catalog: This picture shows the remains of one of the docks, several freight cars being piled one upon the other, while the most interesting part of the picture shows two schooners literally smashed one into the other, forming a most picturesque mass of wreckage.
    PLAYBACK: Information about Video Playback
    REPRODUCTION: How to Order Copies of Films | Sound Recordings
    COPYRIGHTCopyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCEInventing Entertainment: The Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division Washington, D. C.

  7. DESCRIPTIONPanorama of orphans' home, Galveston
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: United States : Edison Manufacturing Co., 1900
    SUMMARY FROM AMERICAN MEMORY: From Edison films catalog: This is the building in which so many of the poor orphans met their death. The place is completely dismantled. In addition to the orphanage is shown one of the principal streets in Galveston blocked with overturned houses and other materials.
    PLAYBACK: Information about Video Playback
    REPRODUCTION: How to Order Copies of Films | Sound Recordings
    COPYRIGHTCopyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCEInventing Entertainment: The Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division Washington, D. C.

  8. DESCRIPTIONPanorama of Galveston power house
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED
    SUMMARY FROM AMERICAN MEMORY
    PLAYBACK: Information about Video Playback
    REPRODUCTION: How to Order Copies of Films | Sound Recordings
    COPYRIGHTCopyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCEInventing Entertainment: The Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division Washington, D. C.

  9. DESCRIPTIONLaunching a stranded schooner from the docks
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: United States : Edison Manufacturing Co., 1900
    SUMMARY FROM AMERICAN MEMORY: From Edison films catalog: During the terrific storm all of the light craft along the dock front was lifted out of the water and washed up into the streets, many of them being carried for miles inland. This subject shows a number of boatmen who have banded together to get their craft back into the water, a panoramic view being taken of the schooner as she glided sideways down the improvised ways, forming a very interesting subject.
    PLAYBACK: Information about Video Playback
    REPRODUCTION: How to Order Copies of Films | Sound Recordings
    COPYRIGHTCopyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCEInventing Entertainment: The Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division Washington, D. C.

  10. DESCRIPTIONDamage caused by the hurricane and storm surge
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1900, September 1-10
    COPYRIGHTAbout the images
    SOURCE: Historic NWS Collection
    REPOSITORY: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA)

  11. DESCRIPTIONA Street After the Flood
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1900, September 1-10
    COPYRIGHTAbout the images
    SOURCE: Historic NWS Collection
    REPOSITORY: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA)

  12. DESCRIPTIONRemoving Dead Bodies to the Barges for Burial at Sea
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1900, September 1-10
    COPYRIGHTAbout the images
    SOURCE: Historic NWS Collection
    REPOSITORY: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA)

  13. DESCRIPTION: Damage caused by the hurricane and storm surge
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1900, September 1-10
    COPYRIGHTAbout the images
    SOURCE: Historic NWS Collection
    REPOSITORY: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA)

  14. DESCRIPTIONThe track of the Galveston Hurricane
    COPYRIGHTAbout the images
    SOURCE: Historic NWS Collection
    REPOSITORY: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA)

  15. DESCRIPTION: Ruined Homes
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1900, September 1-10
    COPYRIGHTAbout the images
    SOURCE: Historic NWS Collection
    REPOSITORY: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA)

  16. DESCRIPTION: Houses Destroyed by the Flood
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1900, September 1-10
    COPYRIGHTAbout the images
    SOURCE: Historic NWS Collection
    REPOSITORY: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA)

  17. DESCRIPTION: Ruin caused by the Flood
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1900, September 1-10
    COPYRIGHTAbout the images
    SOURCE: Historic NWS Collection
    REPOSITORY: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA)

  18. DESCRIPTION: Destruction caused by the water
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1900, September 1-10
    COPYRIGHTAbout the images
    SOURCE: Historic NWS Collection
    REPOSITORY: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA)

  19. DESCRIPTION: Number of Dead May Reach 10,000
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 11, 1900
    SOURCE: Historical New York Times

  20. DESCRIPTION: Martial Law in Galveston
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 12, 1900
    SOURCE: Historical New York Times

  21. DESCRIPTION: Horrors Increase in Stricken City
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 13, 1900
    SOURCE: Historical New York Times

  22. DESCRIPTION: Galveston Begins to Recover Slowly
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: September 14, 1900
    SOURCE: Historical New York Times

  23. DESCRIPTION[Light house tender Arbutus lying along side a wharf].
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 1900, Sept. 22
    SUMMARY FROM AMERICAN MEMORY: Photograph of the the light house tender Arbutus (Steamship). Taken September 22, the Arbutus is being loaded with supplieswhich are intended for Galveston, Texas hurricane relief. Photo also shows dock and river views
    REPRODUCTIONHow to Order Reproductions
    COPYRIGHTCopyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCEWestward by Sea: A Maritime Perspective on American Expansion, 1820-1890
    REPOSITORY: Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc., G. W. Blunt White Library, P.O. Box 6000, Mystic, CT 06355

  24. DESCRIPTION: Dr. Isaac Monroe Cline, meteorologist in charge at Galveston during the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, meteorologist in charge at New Orleans during the great Mississippi River flood of 1927, and author of "Tropical Cyclones."
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: 
    NOTES
    : Cline was a meteorologist who gain fame for accurately predicting the 1900 Galveston flood. 
    SOURCE: NOAA People Collection
    REPOSITORY: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Adminstration (NOAA)
    SEE ALSO: Isaac Monroe Cline, Storms, Floods, and Sunshine: Isaac Monroe Cline : An Autobiography With a Summary of Tropical Hurricanes. Pelican Publishing Company, 1999.

  25. DESCRIPTION: Galveston Flood, Coney Island, N.Y.
    DATE CREATED/PUBLISHED: [between 1902 and 1906]
    NOTES: Amusement attraction at New York's Coney Island where visitors could watch a simulation of the Galveston flood.
    REPRODUCTIONS: How to Order Photographic Reproductions
    COPYRIGHTCopyright and Other Restrictions
    SOURCETouring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920
    REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 

See also: 

Additional Media Resources

Disasters, Devastation and Destruction. From the Library of Congress 

In Focus: Floods! From PBS

Additional Instructional Resources

Talking Points for Educators: In the Aftermath of a Hurricane. From the American Red Cross

Hurricane Watch! From Education World

Blowing Through History (Grades 6-8 , 9-12 ) Examining the History of Hurricanes in the United States to Create a Library Reference Guide. From the New York Times on the Web Learning Network.

Secondary Resources

Larson, Erik. Isaac's Storm : A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History. Knopf Publishing Group, 2000.

Lester, Paul. The Great Galveston Disaster: Containing a Full and Thrilling Account of the Most Appalling Calamity of Modern Times. Pelican Publishing Company, 2000.

Turner, Elizabeth Hays. "Clara Barton and the Formation of Public Policy in Galveston, 1900." The Rockefeller Archive Center Publications Conference Proceedings, September 2000.

Turner, Elizabeth Hays and Patricia Bellis Bixel. Galveston and the 1900 Storm: Catastrophe and Catalyst. University of Texas Press, 2000.

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Credits

Teaching American History in Maryland is a collaborative partnership of the Maryland State Archives and the Center for History Education (CHE), University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), and the following sponsoring school systems: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Baltimore City Public School System, Baltimore County Public Schools, and Howard County Public Schools.

Other program partners include the Martha Ross Center for Oral History, Maryland Historical Society, State Library Resource Center/Enoch Pratt Free Library, with assistance from the National Archives and Records Administration and the Library of Congress. The program is funded through grants from the U.S. Department of Education.

This document packet was researched and developed by Nancy Bramucci.

 

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