On September 12-13, 2008, Hurricane Ike slammed into Galveston Island with 110-mile per hour winds and a 15-foot storm surge, inundating most of this barrier island as well as the City of Galveston. In addition to flooded homes and businesses, some 40,000 of the city’s historic trees were destroyed.
One of the areas that received considerable attention when it came to the remediation of salt damage to the root zones of remaining trees, the replacement of trees lost in the storm, and the replanting of all vacant planting sites was along Broadway Boulevard. Stretching nearly four miles along Galveston Island, Broadway, with its 30-foot wide median, is the main historic thoroughfare through the city.
One resident told us that one surprising benefit from the terrible loss of trees was that the loss revealed many palm trees that had been hidden by the other trees along the Boulevard. It is this spirit of not wanting to admit defeat that drives people to resolve that the clean-up will begin immediately, to pull together to help each other rebuild, and to find positives and hope in the face of tragedy. We heard it from survivors after Katrina and saw the results of that resolve to come back stronger in the neighborhoods in New Orleans and Galveston.
In several businesses, we saw high-water marks from four to six feet on the buildings, indicating the degree of Ike's presence in their neighborhoods; but we were more tuned in to the psychological marks that were in evidence in the restoration of homes and neighborhoods along Broadway Boulevard. These examples are shown below.
When the original Boddeker House was destroyed in the 1900 storm, Capt. Boddeker purchased and relocated this 1893 house from 12th and Sealy.
In 1904 the Kempners purchased three lots here on Broadway, Galveston's most fashionable boulevard. This imposing two-story neoclassical style house was completed in 1906.
Druggist and developer of chewing gum built this cottage.
The house is a one-story raised 5-bay cottage with dormers on its roof. The cottage is one of the more modest designs by Nicholas Clayton, who is known for the many buildings he designed around Galveston.
John Adriance was instrumental in Galveston's early development. The home, sold in 1929 to business and civic leader Oscar Springer, reflects a mixture of styles and features an entry portico with colossal Doric order columns, a craftsman style gable, wraparound porch, and arched basement.
"Bought by W.L. Moody six days after the 1900 storm (reportedly for 'ten cents on the dollar'), this imposing 28,000-square-foot limestone and-brick mansion has 32 rooms filled with opulent furnishings and heirlooms from one of Texas's most powerful families" (galveston.com/ moodymansion).
The Rosenberg Library, successor to the Galveston Mercantile Library which was founded in 1871, is the oldest public library in Texas in continuous operation.
Ashton Villa was the first of Galveston's Broadway "palaces," as well as the first brick house to be built in Texas.
On June 19, 1865, Union General Gordon Granger and 2,000 federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take possession of the state and enforce the emancipation of its slaves. While standing on the balcony of Ashton Villa, Granger read the contents of “General Order No. 3”: "The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free...."
Juneteenth Statue, 2005
The nine-foot tall bronze statue depicts a man holding the state law (introduced by State Rep. Al Edwards [D-Houston] and passed in 1979) that made Juneteenth (June 19th) a state holiday.