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Galveston, TX Area Hurricane, Aug 1915

Damage at Texas City, 1915 Hurricane

SPECIAL TRAIN GOES TO SCENE OF FLOOD

BALKED BY DEBRIS AND DAMAGED TRACK NEAR TEXAS CITY JUNCTION.

DESCRIPTION OF HAVOC

Towns Between Houston and Texas City Junction Suffer Greatly and Crops Laid Low.

Special to The News.

Beaumont, Texas, Aug. 18.----The first train out of Houston Tuesday morning in the direction of Galveston Bay was a special coach and a cabbage and operated jointly by the International at Great Northern and the Galveston Houston & Henderson, Railroads.

The train left shortly after 11 o'clock and although running slowly against the strong gale, made its way with little difficulty to a point near Texas City Junction. As the junction was neared it was necessary to clear the track of debris of every sort, casks, timber, cotton bales, carcasses of horses and cows and other innumerable articles, including one baby carriage.

About three-quarters of a mile west of the junction the track was badly torn up, with sidetrack thrown over the main line and interwoven with a mass of debris.

Person on the train walked from this point to within about three miles of the mainland end of the causeway, where they were stopped by the deep water which had overspread all the land between it and the bay and appeared to be part of the bay. Only the top of the drawbridge on the causeway and and elevator in Galveston were visible and all hope of getting into the city was abandoned until the waters, which were lashed into furious waves by the stiff gale, should subside. No one would think of attempting to cross in any kind of boat.

Two Ships Aground.

Two large ships were aground on the mainland near Texas City Junction and as it was said no ships were in Texas City, it was presumed they had been blown across the bay from Galveston. Their names could not be detected nor was any sign of life seen on them.

Highland Park was a roaring lake and the interurban tracks on the southwest of it were seen to be torn up and the ties standing in end.

About two miles of the trolley wire was down at this point.

A large barge appeared to be aground between the interurban and the Santa Fe tracks. No sign of life was seen in any of the homes around and it was said several houses had disappeared entirely.

Crops Laid Low.

Damage along the line from Houston to Texas City Junction was heavy, every town suffering severely. In the eastern part of Harris County, in the timbered sections, thousands of trees had been blown down, most of them uprooted and it was necessary for the train crew to remove many from the tracks. In the prairie sections water stood for miles along the right of way and, with the gale blowing it resembled a bay more than fields. Crops were laid low, corn and cotton stripped clean and corn stalks bent flat to the ground.

Loss of Life May Be Small.

From the fact that not so many residences appeared to have been demolished, the prospect is that loss of life was not great along the line of the railroad.

Sylvan Beach suffered heavy loss in Monday night's storm, according to information brought to Houston Tuesday by parties who had motored in after the wind had subsided. The bathhouse it is said, had been swept away and many of the cottages along the beach have been reduced to kindling wood. The water is reported to have been twelve feet higher than in 1900.

H.O. Blanding and wife and Dr. McClung and wife of Corsicana composed a party who reached this city from Sylvan Beach yesterday. They left at 8:30, reaching Houston before noon.

South Houston Suffers.

Thousands of dollars worth of property in homes and public buildings was destroyed at South Houston and a large amount of suffering was endured by men, women and children, whose homes were swept from over their heads, making it necessary for them to pass the night on the prairie, from knee to waist deep in water, according to Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Johnson, who arrived in Houston yesterday.

The pretty five-room cottage of Mr. and Mrs. Johnson was swept away. They, with about fifteen other persons, spent the night at the interurban railway station. Nearly every home, with some exceptions at South Houston, they stated, had been damaged and many of them had been destroyed beyond hope of repair.

The $7,000 pubic school building and J. C. McDeanor's Sanitarium were destroyed. The patients in the sanitarium had previously been removed to the interurban station. The roof was blown off and the second story partly destroyed of the South Houston Hotel. Bartlett's drug store was damaged and his garage and machine shop demolished.

High School Building Ruined.

The new high school building at Lamarque is a total ruin. Two corners have been taken out end the roof practically destroyed. The church at Dickinson is a mass of kindling wood. A large barn filled with hay, two mile north of Lamarque, was unroofed, and the hay scattered in all directions. There is hardly a fence standing along the entire route. Telegraph poles have given way and wires are in a hopeless tangle, making it improbable that communication will be restored before two or three days.

Three stores in Webster are badly damaged, one being thrown back against trees and the entire front caved in. The other two have fronts out and roofs gone.

At Dickinson one store suffered heavily but the others escaped with broken windows and minor damage to roofs.

Damage at League City.

At league City the damage had been heavy. Several large lumber sheds are a mass of ruins. One restaurant was destroyed and other stores suffered a heavy damage from wind and rain.

Tuesday morning the water stood about five feet deep around the dwellings at and in the vicinity of Hitchcock, a stage reported by residents to be more than three feet higher than the 1900 stage.

Many brave feats were performed by soldiers of the United States Army during the dangerous hours at Texas City, one especially noteworthy act being that of Sergeant Petty, who swam nearly a mile, carrying a 2 month old baby, the infant of the express agent at Texas City. After landing the baby safely, he returned and brought in the mother and another older child. Sergeant Petty was formerly of the life saving station at Galveston. Much praise was given the soldiers for their conduct.

At Elgin the Christian Church and a large warehouse of the Sellstrom Hardware Company were demolished and minor damage done elsewhere.

Damage to property and merchandise at Rosenberg amounted to $2,000.

Cotton Crop About Ruined.

S[ineligible]iner reports the cotton crop practically wiped out in that section, as is the case at Hallestville, Bastrop and Sealey. At Sealey, W. I. Gray's general merchandise store was unroofed and his goods badly damaged.

Minor property damage was done at Teague, Caldwell, Columbus, Fistonia, Lockhart, Yonkum and Gonzales, heavy cotton loss being reported at those places also.

At Eagle Lake the fuel tank and smokestack of the Eagle Lake rice mill were blown down.

At Waller much much minor damage was done and a large corn crib belonging to W. E. Ellis was demolished, while a galvanized iron door, weighing 400 pounds, was torn from his barn and carried 100 yards by the gale.

More than a hundred bales of cotton are strewn along the highway in fence corners and on the railroad right of way at La Marque. Furniture, bedding and other household good contribute to make a debris heap which will require the work of a wrecking crane and wreck train to move.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 19 Aug 1915



article | by Dr. Radut