The Galveston Seawall

Mark Harvey

Abstract


Galveston, Texas is a coastal city in the Southeast United States, situated on the Gulf of Mexico. In 1900, a major hurricane struck the city, resulting in significant property damage and loss of life, destroying much of the city. Following this disaster, a seawall was constructed to minimize damage caused by future hurricanes. A seawall is a large reinforced concrete structure designed to absorb the impact of waves as they strike the shore. Expansions have increased the length of the seawall from its initial length of 3.3 miles to its current length of approximately 10 miles. The Galveston Seawall has repeatedly proved its worth in the century since it has been built. The city has experienced many severe hurricanes in that time and the presence of the seawall has reduced devastation significantly. The following paper examines the events leading to the construction of the seawall, subsequent hurricanes in which the seawall effectively protected Galveston, and improvements and extensions to the seawall.

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References


A. Davis, Galveston’s Bulwark Against the Sea; History of the Galveston Seawall, Public Affairs Office, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1974. (Accessed at: http://ww3.swg.usace.army.mil/pao/SandCastle/GalvestonBulwarkAgainsttheSea.pdf)

B. Keim and R. Muller, Hurricanes of the Gulf of Mexico. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 2009.

M. Juch and J. Rogers, “The Galveston/Texas Hurricane of 1900: A review of the Events that Led to the Galveston Seawall and Grade Raising” in Environmental and Water Resources, Milestones in Engineering History. American Society of Civil Engineers, 2007. (Accessed at: http:// http://ascelibrary.org/doi/pdf/10.1061/40928%28251%2917)

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “When Disaster Strikes” in Custodians of the Coast - History of the United States Army Engineers at Galveston, 1977. (Accessed at: http://publications.usace.army.mil/publications/misc/un23/c-9.pdf)


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