Heritage, 2011, Volume 4 Page: 21
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ervation's 2009 list of America's 11 most
Endangered Historic Places.
The cleanup and restoration on a large
number of Galveston's more notable
historic properties began almost imme-
diately following Hurricane Ike's depar-
ture, with local preservation organiza-
tions, community leaders, government
agencies, and residents working together.
Mitchell Historic Properties, founded by
Galveston-native and dedicated preserva-
tionist George P. Mitchell (see article and
sidebar on page 23), began a widespread
project to remove storm debris and begin
repairs on 20 historic buildings owned by
the company. In an October 2008 press
release, MHP reported that an estimated
350 workers, including architects, engi-
neers, and environmentalists, were work-
ing on this reconstruction effort. Among
MHP's Galveston real estate holdings are
the Tremont House, Harbor House, and
The Galveston Historical Foundation
also devoted its considerable resources
to ensuring that the salvage, cleanup,
and restoration projects following Hur-
ricane Ike would be done with careful
consideration to preserving the historical
integrity of properties. GHF's Brian Da-
vis explaines that immediately after the
destructive storm, the organization began
educating homeowners and contractors
about methods for saving original wood
floors, doors, and trim and for removing
mold from salvaged items. The National
Trust for Historic Preservation lent its
support through small emergency grants
given to GHF that were used, in part, for
a series of lectures on disaster recovery.
Brian Davis says that presently the city
has transitioned to the recovery and re-
building phase, and he notes that federal
and state assistance programs for home-
owners are changing the look of some of
Galveston's historic neighborhoods. As it
stands, just a small percentage of the is-
land's historic neighborhoods have some
form of review or protection in place,
and newer homes are likely to transform
areas that have no zoning protections.
Further, Davis adds, older houses that
have been modified over time may be too
altered to be considered for restoration
by their owners, and homes not consid-
ered eligible for listing on the National
Register of Historic Places also have a
higher chance of being demolished.
Even in older neighborhoods where
Carpenter Gothic and Greek Revival
homes were raised above grade and
were spared major flooding damage,
many families sold their houses, and
the areas have yet to return to being
the active communities they were pri-
or to Ike's landfall.
The damage from Hurricane Ike has
certainly meant a great loss to historic
properties in older neighborhoods, but
the catastrophe has spawned a new wave
of interest in protecting what remains.
Valuable lessons learned in the aftermath
of the storm have prompted Galveston's
historic community to be more proac-
tive by considering more effective ways
to protect their assets. Yet some of these
measures, which range from shoring up
the structural integrity of historic build-
ings to implementing better ways to
prepare for an approaching storm, can
be costly, and this expense sometimes
comes with unforeseen consequence.
The city's Lone Star Flight Museum,
which lost prized aircraft and some ir-
replaceable memorabilia, made the deci-
sion in August to relocate to Ellington
International Airport in Houston. In a
Houston Chronicle article, Larry Gregory,
the museum's executive director, said
the cost of storm-proofing the LSFM's
Galveston facility was prohibitive; ulti-
mately, the group decided that they could
not again assume the huge risk associated
with being located in an area prone to hur-
Galveston's historic landscape provides
a wonderful example of how organiza-
tions and individuals work together to
save pieces of history that have fallen prey
to indifference or neglect. Unfortunately,
as the Island's preservation community
will testify, the protection of historic re-
sources is oftentimes challenged-and
sometimes defeated-by the unpredict-
able and unavoidable, in this case, a cata-
strophic storm. During difficult times
like these, preservationists must labor
even more diligently to insure that the
treasures of the past remain for future
Pamela Murtha is the assistant editor for
Texas HERITAGE magazine.
Volume 4 2011 ITEXAS HERITAGE 21
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, 2011, Volume 4, periodical, 2011; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth254223/m1/21/: accessed January 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.