Oh, here’s the Rosenberg Library’s storms site, for those who just look at the pictures.
Okay, rocking chair, but most are trivial or urban legend-ish.
Trivial-as a small child, my dad fell off a catwalk and was carried a distance by the mud they used to raise the island. After the storm, they built the seawall and raised the entire island by dredging Galveston Bay and depositing the tailings onshore (those old four foot high iron fences at Ashton Villa are really eight feet tall but half is underground.) They built catwalks to walk on when they were raising an area.
Cool factoid: Screwjacks were used to raise buildings to the new grade. With the larger buildings, they would dig under the building and place hundreds of these jacks in a grid with one worker at each jack. A worker outside had a drum. Everytime he beat the drum, the people under the building would give the jack a quarter turn.
Urban Legend-ish (warning: let that lunch settle before reading this)-After the storm, the women stayed in charge of the homes while the men went out to clean up and recover bodies (with 8,000-10,000 dead, they put them on ships and buried them at sea, but they had to cremate when the bodies washed back ashore.) Looting was common, and anyone found with a ringed finger in their pockets was shot. Also, I guess should mention that most homes in Galveston are built on piers which allows storm surges (and high tides before they raised the island) to wash underneath. Anyway, my mother’s father’s aunt was left in charge of the kids. She was reading to them when she heard a scratching noise in the kitchen. Giving the book to an older girl, she went into the kitchen and saw a pair of hands on the windowsill; someone was trying to climb into the house. The aunt grabbed a butchers knife, stabbed through a hand pinning the man to the window, closed the window and braced it. Then she went back to reading, leaving the looter for the men to take care of when they got home.
Speaking of the Texas City Disaster, I attended a funeral a few years back at the funeral home on the right just past where I-45 ends (or used to end, in the 5800 block or so.) Walking outside, my dad mentioned that the funeral home opened right before the disaster, paid off the bills with that day and seemed to be coasting ever since. According to him, it was a good day for the funeral homes, and glass companies too since “it broke every window in town.” I think I expressed suprise that Galveston was affected that much by something across the bay in Texas City. He countered by saying that car-sized chunks of concrete landed in Galveston.
I just asked my mom about the above story. She doesn’t remember chunks of concrete, but does recall that Broadway was shut down to let the ambulances have free run between Texas City and the University of Texas Medical Branch. Her father was working in the Galveston railyards when he heard the explosion. He climbed onto a boxcar to get a look, then a huge piece of metal flew pass and he decided that the top of a boxcar was “no place for his mother’s son.”
Carla was before my time, but my sister remembers seeing waves hit the seawall, the tops shearing off and flying to her window, three blocks away. Just before the eye went over, my brother went out to the garage to check on his dog. While walking to the garage he could reach forward and touch the ground. Then there was the time… okay, I’ll quit before I bore everyone.