A look back at the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900

A large part of the city of Galveston, Texas was reduced to rubble, as shown in this September 1900 photo, after being hit by a surprise hurricane Sept. 8, 1900.
A large part of the city of Galveston, Texas was reduced to rubble, as shown in this September 1900 photo, after being hit by a surprise hurricane Sept. 8, 1900. (Associated Press)

GALVESTON, Texas – The deadliest natural disaster in the history of the United States happened at the turn of the 20th century in Galveston.

On Sept. 8, 1900, way before hurricanes were given names, a monster storm slammed into the port city where more than 40,000 people lived. Winds of more than 135 mph, which would make the storm a Category 4 by modern-day standards, devastated Galveston.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the storm, which is now known as the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900, killed more than 6,000 people, destroyed more than 3,600 buildings and pushed 15 feet of water ashore.

It reshaped Galveston

Before the hurricane, Galveston was a booming port city and was on track to become one of the largest cities in Texas.

The hurricane left Galveston in shambles, but leaders were determined to get the city back on its feet. The wharves were open only two weeks after the storm, according to a 2002 report by the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank.

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** FILE ** In this September 1900 file photo, a large part of the city of Galveston, Texas, is reduced to rubble after being hit by a surprise hurricane Sept. 8, 1900. More than 6,000 people were killed and 10,000 left homeless from the storm, the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. Hurricane Ike's eye was forecast to strike somewhere near Galveston late Friday, Sept. 12, 2008, or early Saturday, then head inland for Houston. (AP Photo/File)


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