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Galveston is known for many things – from its beaches to its historic architecture – but being home to the deadliest storm in U.S. history is one of its less kind claims to fame.
If you are a student of storm history, Galveston will be commemorating the 121st anniversary of the 1900 "Great Storm" during the week of September 4-12, 2021,
pictured: 1900 Storm Memorial on Seawall Blvd by Brett Scull (IG: @roamgalveston)
The Great Storm, as it is now called in history, struck Galveston on Sept. 8, 1900, killing more than 6,000 and taking its place in infamy. This powerful hurricane forever changed the course of the island, which was a thriving, successful city known as the “Wall Street of the South” (with more millionaires occupying the island per capita than any other American city) in the decades leading up to the storm.
The show imagines what the real-life ancestors of the playwright went through during the 1900 Storm. Featuring additional characters and iconic Galveston places, the play will immerse theatergoers in 1900 Galveston during the worst natural disaster in American history.
Lantern Light Galveston hosts several tours that take guests to different places on the island that bear testament to the Great Storm, its survivors and those who perished. Select tours include dinner or brunch and an in-depth talk about the storm in a private setting at Riondo’s Ristorante on The Strand.
Join local artists and musicians as they pay tribute to those lost in the storm. Take part in the candlelight vigil at The Proletariat: the site of the weather bureau when the 1900 Storm came ashore.
Directions on your phone will guide you around the Postoffice District on a half-mile interactive walking journey where you will explore historical hurricane events, embark upon architectural wonders and storm survivors, complete fun challenges, take epic selfies, and win prizes and promotions from local businesses!
In addition to special events taking place in September, Galveston is also home to tours and landmarks visitors can experience year-round.
Galveston Experience Company offers regular historic hurricane bus tours. Renowned climate scientist, hurricane expert Dr. "Hurricane Hal" Needham's popular hurricane tour is now available as a Bus Tour with incredible photos, video and amazing stories of Galveston's long hurricane history.
Completed in April 2021, Hope represents years of work and dedication from local blacksmith Doug McLean. The sculpture is located at the City Hall Plaza, 823 25th Street. Depicting a desperate mother clutching her children, the sculpture is a version of an Italian artist’s interpretation of the Great Storm.
Built as a barrier to future storms, construction on the Galveston Island Seawall began in 1902 and was completed in 1963. It stands 17 feet above the beach and extends 10 miles from 10th to 99th streets. Many people take advantage of this contiguous sidewalk to bike, walk, run and skate. Murals of sea life are depicted along the wall itself.
If you visit Galveston during the first week of September, you’re likely to see a fresh wreath of flowers adorning an unassuming marker on the seawall just east of 69th Street. The marker recalls the St. Mary’s Orphanage sisters and the children in their care who perished in The Great Storm.
Located on the seawall at 47th Street, this statue depicts a woman cradling a child. Houston artist David Moore crafted the bronze sculpture that was placed here in 2000 commemorating those who died and those who survived on the storm’s 100th anniversary.
The Bryan Museum is housed in what was once the Galveston Orphans Home – itself a Great Storm survivor. Amid one of the world’s largest private collections of art and artifacts relating to Texas and the Southwest, you can view a video consisting of Great Storm images captured by noted inventor Thomas Edison.
When you drive through Galveston’s historic east-end neighborhoods, you’re bound to notice plaques on many of the older homes – storm survivors. The Galveston Historical Foundation sponsors a 1900 Storm Survivor Plaque Program that allows property owners to display testaments to the resilience of Galveston’s built history.
Where the Texas Coast begins.
by Kristen Vale
by Visit Galveston
by Dr. Hal Needham
by Visit Galveston