The Great Galveston Disaster, Containing a Full and Thrilling Account of the Most Appalling Calamity of Modern Times Page: VIII
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A remarkable feature about the storm is the disparity in the
depth of water in different portions of the city, and the undoubted
fact that the waters subsided on the north side of the city hours
before they did on the south side.
These peculiarities are explained by the topography of the
island. Broadway, which marks the center, or middle of the city
proper, is on the ridge, from which the land slopes on one side
toward the bay and on the other, toward the Gulf. The waters
from the Gulf passed over this ridge and swept on toward the bay
during the most furious stages of the storm, but the full energies
of wind and water were directed upon that portion of the city
between the Gulf and the Broadway Ridge. Of the lives lost in
the city, 90 per cent. were in the district named.
How many lives were sacrificed to the Storm King will never
be known. The census taken in June showed that Galveston had
a population of 38,000. Outside the city limits on Galveston
Island there were 1,600 persons living. The dead in the city
exceeded 5000. Of the I600 living outside the city limits, I200
were lost. This frightful mortality-75 per cent.-outside the
city is explained by the fact that most of the people there lived
in frail structures and had no places of comparative safety to take
refuge in. In the mainland district swept by the storm, at least
Ioo persons perished. It is safe, therefore, to state that at least
7000 lives were lost.
Of the property damage' no estimate can be considered accurate.
The estimates range from $25,00ooo,ooo to $50,000,000.
Of marvelous escapes from death, of acts of supreme heroism,
of devotion and courage beyond parallel, the storm developed
anany instances. In some cases whole families were blotted out,
in others the strong perished and the weak survived. Of the
various branches of one family, 42 were killed, while in one household
13 out of a total of 15 were lost.
Such a scene of desolation as met the eyes of the people of
Galveston when day dawned Sunday, September -9, has rarely
been witnessed on earth. Fifteen hundred acres of the city had
been swept clear of every habitation. Every street was choked
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Lester, Paul. The Great Galveston Disaster, Containing a Full and Thrilling Account of the Most Appalling Calamity of Modern Times, book, 1900~; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth26719/m1/11/?rotate=270: accessed September 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .