HISTORY OF THE GALVESTON SEA WALL

Albert B. Davis, Jr.

Abstract


Galveston Island, one of the long, narrow barrier beaches that fringe the Gulf Coast of Texas, is a low, sandy formation about 28 miles long and from -g to 3 miles wide. In its natural state the Gulf shore was bordered by an area of sand dunes rising to heights of 12 to 15 feet above the natural surface of the island. The availability of deep water along the bay side of the island led to the early development of the city of Galveston on the east end of the island. In its early days the city was protected from hurricane tides by the sand dunes along the Gulf front. The rapid development of the city in the latter part of the 19th century, especially its increasing importance as a summer resort, lead to the removal of the sand dunes along the beach front for fill and to permit easy access to the beach. Without the dunes the city was unprotected from the fury of the hurricanes. The danger to the city was realized by a number of persons, and several plans for storm protection had been developed; however, because of financing difficulties and general public apathy none of these plans was carried out. Figure one shows a map of Galveston Island with development as it was in 1900.

Keywords


seawall design; Galveston, Texas; hurricane impacts

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