FIRST NEWS OF THE GREAT CALAMITY. 25
and stand from eight to ten feet from the ground as a precaution
against floods, it being possible for the water to sweep under them.
Any protection that has ever been provided for the Gulf side
of the city has been two stone breakwaters, but many times, with
ordinary storms coming in from the Gulf, the high tidewater has
been hurled over the low stone walls right to the very doors of the
residences. From Virginia Point, six miles from Galveston, in
ordinary conditions of the atmosphere, the city can be plainly
seen. If it is true that Galveston cannot be now seen from the
Point, then the conditions of the people in the city must be indescribably
horrible. In short, a large part of the city is obliterated
and has disappeared.
VAST AMOUNT OF MONEY INVESTED.
Many millions of dollars are invested
in the wholesale and
retail business of the city. On Strand street alone there are
ten blocks of business establishments that represent an invested
capital of $127,000,000ooo. Market street is the heavy retail street,
and there, in the heart of the flooded district, the losses cannot
but reach away into the millions. The fact, as indicated by the
despatches, that water is standing six feet deep in the Tremont
Hotel, furnishes startling evidence to me that Galveston has been,
indeed, dreadfully visited. The hotel is in almost exactly the
centre of the city. Two years ago Galveston did the heaviest
shipping business in cotton and grain of any Southern city. When
I was at home two shiploads of cattle were leaving the port on an
average every week.
Dr. H. C. Frankenfeld, forecast official of the Weather
Bureau, gave an account of the West India hurricane that travelled
through Texas. The first sign of the storm was noticed August
30 near the Windward Islands, about latitude 15 degrees north,
longitude 63 degrees west. On the morning of August 31 it was
still in the same latitude, but had moved westward to about longitude
67 degrees, or about 200 miles south of the island of Porto
Rio. At that time, however, it had not assumed a very definite
stow_ formtiont It was central in the Caribbean Sea o th
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 July 22, 2014.