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moni

Remembering Hurricane Carla

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Is anyone old enough to remember Hurricane Carla (1961)? We lived in Houston and we went to Galveston to watch the storm come in. I was so fascinated by the big black wall that kept getting closer, that I neglected to realize that the water was coming up and over the sea wall. My feet were under about 6in of water. The drive back to Houston was bumper to bumper traffic, dark as night. Scary and fascinating at the same time.

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Just do a search in Haif under Carla and there are at least 2 topics on this subject. I think MidtownCoog had good phtotos his dad had taken and saved all these years.

Our small family was told to vacant or else, so we packed up and fled and hid out of all places OLD Jeff Davis High School for shelter along with hundreds of other terrified families/children. I was only a yr old so no memory, but good stories from mom/dad whom luckily are still with us today. Water was rising fast from rain and wind was already taking off shingles and this was in near northside of downtown.

That is what frightens me now is that was 40 yrs ago and the schools were old even then. There simply are not enough buildings to accomodate our population which has more than tripled since 1961. There are good stories of others on Haif that were teens at the time. Our next door neighbors house was moved off its blocked foundation. That is wild. Its a miracle our street only got high water but most homes were still there when we came back, just broken windows and need of new roofs some power lines had fallen too.

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I was 13, so I remember it well. We knew it was gonna miss Houston, so we just "hunkered down" at the house. Didn't get any damage as I can recall, although parts of Houston did, especially down toward the coast.

Galveston got a lot of tornado damage. It also lost the Pleasure Pier and/or the Balinese Ballroom that went out into the water. But probably the biggest damage was that Carla unleashed Dan Rather on the World.

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I was 9 years old and staying with my aunt on Bremond St. We were around the corner from the A & P on Crawford and McGowen. My most memorable moment of the storm was being the only time in my life that I was picked up and carried by the wind. I was walking to the store and a huge gust of wind swept me up off the ground.. I was thrilled and couldn't stop talking about it.. Later that night, the wind blew the windows out of the attic and I had to go up in the wet attic and help my aunt board up the openings. I can still hear her yelling at me to watch the electic wires ( knob & tube)..

When I got back to Galveston that weekend, I was amazed at seeing a house on 21st and Broadway that was upside down.. Very cool to a 9 year old who doesn't understand how devastating it all really was.

Most of my family stayed at the Galvez (and drank all the liquor the hotel had) and took 8mm film of the tornado cutting through the Balinese room across the Seawall. Of course no one knows what happened to "those old movies".

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The most amazing house I saw in Galveston afterward was the "doll house" as I call it. The house was totally undisturbed save for one entire side that had been blown/sucked off by a tornado. The furniture seemed to all be in place, just like looking into the back of a fully furnished doll house.

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The next day after the winds had stopped, my dad and I went to Galveston and walked along the Seawall. The rocks were covered with debris and I found lots of coconuts. My dad said "they are probably from South America", lol.

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The most amazing house I saw in Galveston afterward was the "doll house" as I call it. The house was totally undisturbed save for one entire side that had been blown/sucked off by a tornado. The furniture seemed to all be in place, just like looking into the back of a fully furnished doll house.

That house was on 23rd Street. The tornado came ashore just west of the Buccaneer Hotel and traveled up 23rd street pulling the fronts off of these homes. The twister then skipped over a couple of blocks near Broadway and damaged the courthouse and St. Mary's Cathedral School. One can still travel up 23rd and pick out the ugly, and painfully out of place, post 1961 buildings.

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After Carla passed, and my dad and I were looking around Galveston, we noticed all the tall beautiful palms that had been on the beach were gone. Stewart Beach had those tall lovely palms that you see in the islands. It was so pretty, very tropical. Back then you could drive right down on Stewart Beach. The lovely tiki bar/restaurant at the end of the pier and the pier were all gone. It really was heart breaking.

Edited by moni

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Maybe one of you old timers - OK, other old timers can help me on this one. If I remember, the Jack Tar was at Seawall just east of Broadway. Was it gone before Carla? Or was it a victim of the storm?

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I am interested by those Newspapers that Vertigo58 is showing. My father moved to the area in 1960 and took a job with the Galveston Newspaper. By the time Carla came, we were all living in Houston and he was working for the Houston Post. At least I thought it was the Houston Post.

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Maybe one of you old timers - OK, other old timers can help me on this one. If I remember, the Jack Tar was at Seawall just east of Broadway. Was it gone before Carla? Or was it a victim of the storm?

The Jack Tar was at the corner of 6th and Broadway (where Broadway merges with Seawall) and was not a victim of the storm., just old age. I'm not sure when it was demolished but after it was torn down the land sat vacant for years and has been replaced by the Emerald by the Sea and Chile's.

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I am interested by those Newspapers that Vertigo58 is showing. My father moved to the area in 1960 and took a job with the Galveston Newspaper. By the time Carla came, we were all living in Houston and he was working for the Houston Post. At least I thought it was the Houston Post.

The Rosenberg Library in in Galvez maybe able to give you copies??? You could spend a month in that library seeing and reading all about the cities storms. Then check here at the Chron for more items.

You know there also that museum across the street from the old Opera House that contains and actual film of the 1900 storm and all others since. Most tourists do not know it exists. I forget the name but it used to be a bank in the 1920's.

It frustrates me to know that this relic (The Urseline Academy) was so heavily damaged by Carla, it had to be raised. :angry:

Kempner-Park3.jpg

Edited by Vertigo58

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The Rosenberg Library in in Galvez maybe able to give you copies??? You could spend a month in that library seeing and reading all about the cities storms. Then check here at the Chron for more items.

You know there also that museum across the street from the old Opera House that contains and actual film of the 1900 storm and all others since. Most tourists do not know it exists. I forget the name but it used to be a bank in the 1920's.

It frustrates me to know that this relic (The Urseline Academy) was so heavily damaged by Carla, it had to be raised. :angry:

Kempner-Park3.jpg

It really wasn't that heavily damaged. The sisters just used the damage as a reason to doze the place. It was beginning to become a maintenance headache by then anyway. A family friend of my parents, and an Ursiline alumni built their house on the mainland out of salvaged lumber from this place. (all cypress and oak).

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It really wasn't that heavily damaged. The sisters just used the damage as a reason to doze the place. It was beginning to become a maintenance headache by then anyway. A family friend of my parents, and an Ursiline alumni built their house on the mainland out of salvaged lumber from this place. (all cypress and oak).

What I wouldnt do to see the items they salvaged from inside. :P

I wonder whom may recall actually seeing it while it was extant? There are close up images on Google but I am too lazy to dig up again.

Read more of Carla's swath of destruction, most small towns like Pearland, etc were left in smithereens and many, many cattle drowned as a result. The media focused on big cities like Houston but thsoe small ones were almost leveled. Sad.

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What I wouldnt do to see the items they salvaged from inside. :P

I wonder whom may recall actually seeing it while it was extant? There are close up images on Google but I am too lazy to dig up again.

Read more of Carla's swath of destruction, most small towns like Pearland, etc were left in smithereens and many, many cattle drowned as a result. The media focused on big cities like Houston but thsoe small ones were almost leveled. Sad.

The school building (the academy itself) was the first to be razed. The convent stayed up for another 10 years or so. There was a big push with the early presevationists to convince the nuns to not tear the convent down. The nuns were not very sympathetic, and would not negotiate. People lined up against the fence and cried while the building was demolished. This type of behavior would not be allowed in Galveston's current social climate. The citizens are now fully on board with history and it's value. It's the buildings themselves that have become the asset, not the purpose the building serves.

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My granddad was living in Sargent when Carla hit. He lost part of his house, but there was enough left that he was able to rebuild.

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There were several mentions last night by local weather guys that Matagorda Bay was hammered quite badly in Carla's fury.

Just a note in 1961 I was a baby, and we tried to stay in our house or at least dad did not want to leave until the police came pounding on doors to go seek refuge in Jeff Davis High School in Near Northside. They ordered everyone to go especially if had children.

Then we lived in Near North East side of downtown and power lines came down and lost many shingles but the home was only 25 yrs old but did survive as did most of the other homes. The next door neigbors house on blocks shifted and fell on edge from the big gusts. :(

I hope they dont send anyone to these Old, old schools any more.

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Was living in Brazos County, got a lot of rain, that's about it, some mild winds, nothing too terrible. Wasn't near the Media that we have now, hell most folks didn't even have TV's.

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I was surfing the net and discovered that I was born in Galveston on September 10th 1961! I was wondering if anyone remembers the hospital being evacuated or was I born in the middle of a hurricane?

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My grandmother managed the Genoa Elementary cafeteria & volunteered for the Red Cross. Since the school was a shelter, she was in charge. We lived fairly close; rather than sit alone at home with 3 kids during the storm, Mom moved us all to the school for the duration.

It was exciting. Back before weather satellites, there was much conjecture about just what the storm was doing. There's no denying the power of a big hurricane, but we were in a strong building surrounded by people; don't remember being scared. (A the time, most school kids had read A Weekend in September--still my favorite account of Galveston's Great Storm.) I think we stayed a few days, sleeping on cots & helping out. I remember running a BINGO game for the kids. Lots of bedraggled folks arrived--people who lived in trailers or unsafe houses. Or any kind of house near the Gulf, if they were smart. As the storm wound down, somebody got a call from her husband, a radar operator at Ellington, about the tornadoes that hit Galveston.

My uncle rode the storm out in our house with his girlfriend--later wife. The only damage was from water that blew in under an air conditioner.

Later, Mom took us for a drive to see the storm damage. Houses reduced to rubble made us understand just what storm surge can do.

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