24 FIRST NEWS OF THE GREAT CALAMITY.
of the city, with its former 38,000 population, is it more than six
feet above the sea level.
The flat condition not only points to the desperate situation
of the people at such a time as this, but their danger may be considered
emphasized when it is known that exactly where the city
is built the island is only one and one-quarter miles wide.
On the bay, or north side of the city, is the commercial section,
with wharves stretching along for nearly two miles, lined
with sheds and large storage houses. Then, in that portion of
Galveston, there are three elevators, one of 1,500,000 bushels
capacity, one of I,ooo,ooo and the third of 750,000.
A BRIDGE TWO MILES LONG.
The island from the north side is connected with the mainland
by railroad bridges and the longest wagon bridge in the
world, the latter nearly two miles in length. In 1872 the entire
east end of the city was swept away by the tidal wave that followed
a terrific storm that swept the Gulf coast for three days.
Then the eastern land, on which buildings stood, was literally
torn away. The work of replacing it has since been going on,
and Fort Point, that guards the entrance to the harbor, has since
been built, and on its parapets are mounted some of the heaviest
coast defense ordnance used by the government. By the force
of the storm of 1872 six entire blocks of the city were swept
It is on the south side of the city, beginning within fifty
yards of the medium Gulf tide, that the wealthy residence portion
of the city is located, and which was the first part of Galveston to
be stricken by the full force of the storm and flood. All of the
eastern end of the city was washed away, and in this quarter,
between Broadway and I street, some of the handsomest and most
expensive residence establishments are located. There was located
there one home, which alone cost the owner over $I,ooo,ooo.
Most of the residences are of frame, but there are many of stone
and brick. In the extreme eastern end of the city there are
many of what we call raised cottages, They are built on piling,
Lester, Paul. The great Galveston disaster, containing a full and thrilling account of the most appalling calamity of modern times including vivid descriptions of the hurricane. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth26719/. Accessed January 29, 2015.