Galveston, 1 Month after Ike
photos by Chiquita
10/15/2008
 


photos by Chiquita

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Galveston One Month After Ike

Galveston Historical Foundation (GHF) is one of the largest local preservation organizations in the country. It is the steward of 13 historic properties including Bishop’s Palace, the 1877 tall ship Elissa and the oldest residence on the island, the Michel B. Menard House. Several GHF properties were severely damaged by Hurricane Ike. The worst include GHF headquarters, the 1861 U.S. Custom House along with the antebellum Ashton Villa house museum. Built in 1859, Ashton Villa is the oldest mansion on Galveston’s grand Broadway.

Galveston’s downtown is federally designated as a National Historic Landmark District. It boasts one of the largest collections of restored 19th-century iron-front commercial buildings in the country. The downtown Strand National Historic Landmark District and the residential East End Historic Landmark District comprise the largest federally recognized historic landmark district area in the state of Texas. During Hurricane Ike, this historic area was severely affected, flooding by as much as 12 feet in many downtown buildings.

I am so happy to report that the beautiful tall ship Elissa held her own. There was some minor damage but overall she stayed intact and fared well through the storm. Listen in as Executive Director of the Galveston Historical Foundation, Dwayne Jones tells Talk of the Bay how things are going regarding the historic homes and the downtown historic district on the island.

GHF lost office equipment, books, furniture, exhibit materials, educational supplies and special event items because of Hurricane Ike. In-kind donations to help GHF replace these items would be greatly appreciated. Please contact Becky Maixner at 409-765-7834.

For more information please visit www.GalvestonHistory.org .

Editor’s Note: My trip to Galveston took me through Santa Fe, past Bayou Vista and across the causeway. My heart felt very heavy to still see so much destruction, one month after Ike. And I felt disheartened as I passed tent cities and as I traveled towards the causeway, still barricaded by boats, literally thrown up on the freeway by the storm surge. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I reached Harborside, the Railroad Museum and even parts of The Strand. Things did look better, no doubt it will take awhile but it is getting better. There is dust in the air yes, but there is also a strong resolve that things will get back to ‘normal’. And that the historic district along with the rest of Galveston will get through this.

Folks are still coming back to the island and schools are opening, one at a time. There is also a sense of humor, that only those that have experienced this type of disaster can appreciate. Becky, with the Galveston Historical Foundation, being her normal helpful self, gave me directions on where to park at the Texas Seaport Museum. “just take a right at the boat sitting on top of the toll booth, and you’ll be fine” ... Thanks Becky, I found a great spot.

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