rhe falVestoa Storm of 1900
JOHN EDWARD WEEMS
THE morning of Saturday, September 8, 1900oo, was dark-
perhaps even foreboding-as readers of the Galveston
Daily News scanned their papers. Most attention was
focused on the Boxer Rebellion in China, but on page three of the
News many persons noticed a telegraph story concerning a trop-
ical hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico.
Some Galvestonians had been hearing about this storm for
several days; the United States Weather Bureau office in Galveston
had received its first notification of the hurricane on September 4,1
when it was moving northward over Cuba. Few persons, however,
concerned themselves to any great extent with this latest storm.
They were familiar with tropical hurricanes. The city was built to
withstand them, and it had indeed withstood many Gulf storms in
the past. First floors of residences and business buildings were
elevated several feet above the sandy ground to provide for "over-
flows"-storm-tide inundations of the city. These overflows were
frequently an occasion for a holiday; most businesses closed, and
the clerks went home. Young Galvestonians splashed in the flooded
streets. The festive atmosphere that prevailed in the island city
during these inundations was not unlike that common to a city
farther north during a snowstorm; there were outdoor sports to
suit the occasion.
So it was that Galvestonians who saw the News item about the
storm were generally unconcerned.
"Storm in the Gulf," the one-column headline announced.
Under that, a small subhead proclaimed, "Great Damage Re-
ported on Mississippi and Louisiana Coasts-Wires Down-Details
Then came the story:
1Daily Journal, September 4, 1900 (MS., United States Weather Bureau office,
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 61, July 1957 - April, 1958. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101164/. Accessed October 20, 2014.