As we continued our walking tour of The Silk Stocking District in Galveston with the Self-Guided Walking Tour brochure in hand, I thought about the year 1900.
"On September 8, 1900, a hurricane struck Galveston. Winds estimated at 140 mph swept over the island, leaving devastation in their wake. After the storm surge of 15.7 feet subsided, Galvestonians left their shelters to find 6,000 of the city's 37,000 residents dead and more than 3,600 buildings totally destroyed.
"The 1900 Storm is still considered to be the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history" (1900storm.com/facts.lasso).
What I recalled from references to the Great Storm was that the city was almost totally destroyed. Given the number of buildings that had been destroyed, I was surprised to note how many of the homes in one of the city's historic districts--the Silk Stocking District--were built before 1900, thus surviving the hurricane.
"The Silk Stocking District was formed in April, 1975, and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in May, 1996. The neighborhood includes some of Galveston’s best examples of the Queen Anne style. Several homes within the district, because of their architectural and historical significance, have National Register status.
"Although no record confirms the historic name of the Silk Stocking District, tradition ascribes this name to the neighborhood’s reputation as the home of Galveston’s prosperous families.
"The District boasts a varied collection of historic homes that reflect development from the Civil War through World War II. Roughly composed of fourteen blocks, the District presents some of the best and affordable historic living Galveston has to offer with palm- and oak-lined streets, a trolley line, and a varied collection of stately manors, Victorian homesteads, and charming cottages. The District reflects a diverse, welcoming community dedicated to preserving, revitalizing and protecting the District’s historic and community character" (silkstockinggalveston.org).
The homes were originally one two-story dwelling consisting of a side hall form and rear ell graced by Greek Revival style ornamentation. The home was moved from its original site. The primary portion of the home is on the left, and the rear ell of the former home is on the right.
Two views (above and below)
The three homes shown above and in the two photos below were built in 1905 by Gustav Kahn and are known as the Kahn Speculative Homes. Built in the Queen Anne style, the three homes have varied ornamental details.