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Travel Theme: Walls

Posted by Jody on January 26, 2013

The Galveston Seawall

 Every beach has a history!

On September 8, 1900, Galveston (Texas) suffered a devastating blow from a powerful hurricane. The storm surge washed over the entire island, knocking buildings off their foundations and taking the lives of  thousands of Galveston’s citizens.

Galveston Seawall, Galveston Island, Texas

Galveston Seawall, Galveston Island, Texas

On September 7, 1901, in an attempt to prevent future storms from causing such massive destruction and catastrophic loss of life, the Texas State Legislature approved an act providing for the construction of a seawall for Galveston’s Gulf of Mexico coastline. The initial 3.3 mile long segment of the new Galveston Seawall was completed on July 29, 1904. Standing approximately 17 feet high, the concrete barrier was engineered to be 5 feet wide on the top and 16 feet wide at its base.  The outer face of the Seawall was curved to carry waves upwards. Riprap was deposited along the base of the Seawall facing the Gulf Of Mexico in order to disrupt wave action and prevent the wall’s foundation from being undercut.

After the Seawall was completed, dredged sand and slush from the seabed were pumped into the city of Galveston to raise the ground by as much as 17 feet above its previous elevation! Isn’t that amazing?

Galveston Seawall Beach, Galveston Island, Texas

Galveston Seawall and Seawall Beach, Galveston Island, Texas

In 1977,  the Galveston Seawall was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 2001, the Galveston Seawall and the regrading of the City of Galveston were jointly named a National Historical Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Today, the pedestrian friendly, mural-painted Galveston Seawall runs for 10.4  miles along Galveston Island’s beautiful, sandy Gulf Coast beaches. It’s a lovely place to take a leisurely walk and enjoy the beachy views!

Galveston Seawall & Grade Raise – Texas Parks & Wildlife [Official Video]:

Additional reference: The 1900 Storm

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17 Responses to “Travel Theme: Walls”

  1. Amy said

    Great post for the wall! Looking forward to visit Galveston soon. Thanks for the video.

  2. [...] Travel Theme: Walls (beachtreasuresandtreasurebeaches.com) [...]

  3. kiwiskan said

    Really informative – and it reminded me of that song that came out during the Vietnam War ‘Galveston, oh Galveston, I can hear your sea waves roaring…’ It was a neat song, but I can’t remember the rest of it!!

    • Jody said

      Oh yes! Galveston, written by the amazing Jimmy Webb and made famous by Glen Campbell. Love it! Webb was on a beach in Galveston when he wrote the song.

  4. What a great article. I have never been there, so I feel like I’ve just had a mini history lesson. The video added a lot, as well. Thanks so much for sharing, Jody!! :) Marsha :)

  5. [...] Travel Theme: Walls (beachtreasuresandtreasurebeaches.com) [...]

  6. Fossillady said

    A truly amazing story. I already knew about the hurricane that devastated Galveston, but didn’t know about the seawall or the engineering feats that followed!

  7. Jo Bryant said

    what a feat to build that then..thanks for sharing

  8. And its history surely has a lot of stories to tells and definitely so exciting to hear and that what matters most.

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