"If you were here at this spot in 2008 and looked up and down this street, you would have seen Live Oaks on both sides of the street. The street would have been in complete shade from the canopy provided by these trees."
With those words, a resident of Ball Street in the East End Historic District of Galveston (TX) described the destructive force of Hurricane Ike on September 13, 2008.
But as difficult as it was to deal with the damage to or loss of their homes, the residents knew they could rebuild, but they also knew that replacing 100-year-old trees could not be done for decades.
But an idea and conversations led to a project that gave residents "a chance to morph symbols of destruction into signs of rejuvenation."
Galveston Tree Sculptures were carved by various artists, including Earl Jones (EJ, Galveston), Dale Lewis (DL, Richmond, IN), and Jim Phillips (JP, Houston). The sculptures not only preserved the memory of these magnificent trees, but symbolized the spirit and resolve of Galvestonians.
With descriptive tour map in hand, we began a walking tour of the East End.
This sculpture honors the memory of Roger Case and everything he loved about Galveston.
The tree had actually grown around at the spot where the owners' gray Great Dane's paws grip the fence.
EJ gave this sculpture to the owner of this home when EJ learned that the owner was sad that he did not have a Dolphin to go with the pod that had been created across the street (see the next sculpture).
The Dolphins represent the children and the Mermaid represents the mother of this family. Their "family tree" was preserved, just in a new form.
The homeowners chose Cranes to mimic their tall narrow house.
This sculpture represents the homeowners love of the Orient.
King Vidor, one of the directors of "The Wizard of OZ", was born in the home on this property.
Located in Adoue Park, this sculpture honors the grandmother of the Adoue family.
Hibiscus flowers, sea shells, and sand dollars.
The inscription reads: "In memoriam, Galveston's Lost Oaks, September 13, 2008"
In addition to the sculptures, the destroyed Live Oaks "live on." The Galveston Island Tree Conservancy in conjunction with the Galveston Island Tree Committee and hundreds of volunteers worked to insure that 100 percent of the "Iked" wood was kept out of landfills and used for recycling projects. More than 100 tons of trees were selected for the restoration of America's only remaining whaling ship, another 200 tons went to Malaga, Spain, to be used in the completion of a full-scale replica of the Brig "Galvertown," and a local lumber yard took several tons of wood to mill and dry for building projects.