Galvestonians Return After Ike
This morning, Galveston Island residents are allowed to return to their homes for the first time since the mandatory evacuation 13 days ago due to Hurricane Ike. Officials have warned that over 75% of the homes are uninhabitable and residents of the most severely damaged west end of the island are only allowed to look and leave and must be off the island by 6:00 P.M.
Four decades ago Glen Campbell sang a tribute to the island that many fondly remember. Visitors from around the world have experienced the sandy shores, warm water, and southern hospitality of its residents. In time this will all return as the islanders are resilient to ravages of Mother Nature.
In another era, Privateer Jean Lafitte made the island his home port; five years after helping the United States defeat the British in the War of 1812. Galveston has a rich history going back nearly 500 years ago when in 1528 Spanish explorer Cabeza de Vaca shipwrecked on the island. Fast forward 300 hundred years later, prior to the current capital in Austin, Texas; Galveston was the capital of the Republic of Texas for a brief period during the Texas Revolution.
As the residents of the island return many of the familiar landmarks along the seawall will no longer be visible and only a memory that will also fade into history. Such as the Balinese Room Pier across the street from the Galvez Hotel, which hosted leading entertainers of the 1940's and 50's, such as Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, George Burns, and the Marx Brothers.
Next to the Balinese Room was Murdoch’s Bathhouse, a historic site that was originally built in the 1800's and was destroyed by the 1900 Galveston Storm, a Category 4 hurricane (131-155 mph). As a result of the storm, two years later, a protective seawall was built to protect the east end of the island. Several other hurricanes damaged Murdoch's and each time the building was repaired.
Today residents of the island begin their process of rebuilding as they return to the island. Memories of the past will live on forever as the strong-willed islanders persevere during these difficult times.
Google Map-Satellite View Before/After Ike