Such a scene of desolation as met the eyes of the people of Galveston when day dawned Sunday, September 9, has rarely been witnessed on earth.  Fifteen hundred acres of the city had been swept clear of every habitation.  Every street was choked with ruins, while the sea, not contents with tearing away a great strip along the beach front, had piled the wreckage in one great long mass from city end, to city end.

Destruction of Galveston Orphans' Home
George MacLaine, of St. Louise, was in Galveston the night of the storm.  He wrote, "On Sunday morning, immediately after the storm and as soon as daylight appeared, the scene o n the streets was one I shall never forget.  There were drunken women, almost nude, with their male companions, also under the influence of liquor, parading the streets and laughing and singing as if returning from a prolonged spree."  He also wrote, "There were some of the best citizens of Galveston hurrying to and fro, asking this one and that one if they had heard anything of their sisters, wives or some other member of their families.  There were others who had been presents when their families had perished, weeping and wailing over their losses, young children crying for their parents who had perished, parents crying for the loss of their children, and others walking aimlessly about or standing around as if they were stunned."
Scene at Avenue K and Sixteenth Street
House overturned by the wind.
The wreckage from Galveston littered the shore for miles and was 100 yards wide.  For ten miles inland from the shore, it was a common sight to see small craft, such as steam launches, schooners and oyster sloops.  The life boat of the life-saving station was carried half a mile inland, while a vessel that was anchored in Moses Bayou lay high and dry five miles up from La Marque.

The great wharves and warehouses along the bay front were a mass of splintered, broken timbers.  The bay was strewn with overturned and stranded vessels.

Beneath these masses of broken buildings, in the streets, in the yards, in fence corners, in cisterns, in the bay, far out across the waters of the mainland shores, everywhere, in fact, were corpses.  Added to the horror of so many corpses was the presence of carcasses of thousands of horses, cattle, dogs and other domestic animals.

Fire Department taking bodies to a morgue.
Fifteen thousand person were homeless.  Bodies were piled everywhereBy Monday morning, 24 hours after the storm, the stench from the dead was unbearable.  The triumvirate ruling the city pressed citizens into services to take the dead out in barges and bury them at sea.  That that time, it was impossible to give other burial.

Dead fish were given away by the thousands to all who come for them.  Animals were dumped into the bay, which go out with the tide, and coming ashore by the hundreds at Bolivar Peninsula.  Parties started to bury them, but the few people on the peninsula found it impossible.  After complaints were made, the dumping soon stopped, and the carcasses were cremated.

Railroad bridges across the bay were either wrecked or likely to be destroyed with the weight of a train on them.  The approach to the wagon bridge were gone, and the drawbridges over Clear creek and Edgewater were gone.

Lucas Terrace, where twenty-seven persons were
saved in one little room that remained standing.
The Opera House, City Hall, Masonic Temple, Moody's Bank Building, Knapp's publishing house, and Ritter's saloon and restaurant, on the Strand, were wrecked.  Seven dead bodies were pulled from beneath the wreckage at Ritter's saloon.

Galveston's great open-air show-place was the Garten Verein, which was wiped out of existence.  Among the debris was found many bodies.
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