From destruction to rejuvenation

After a morning of birding then sharing a yummy lunch with our husbands, Mona Liza and I bid adios to the guys and off we went to explore more of Galveston.  Two days earlier the four of us stopped in at the Galveston visitor center.  The gals at the center were extremely friendly and helpful.  This was the perfect stop to begin our Galveston explorations.

architecture in Texas
Just one of many beautiful homes in Galveston’s historic district

We left the center with plenty of information, brochures, and maps to assist us in getting the most out of our stay on the island.  Mona Liza and I used the ‘birding’ brochure that morning to help direct us to various spots for the best bird sightings.

hurrican Ike
beautiful neighborhood… these trees survived hurricane Ike

Galveston TexasNow it was time for us to pull out the ‘Tree Sculpture Tour’ brochure.  When Hurricane Ike hit on September 13, 2008, the combination of damaging winds and tidal surge led to the demise of many of Galveston’s tree’s.

A group of homeowners decided to turn destruction into symbols of rejuvenation by commissioning local artists to turn these downed and damaged trees into works of art.

These carved tree sculptures are located throughout Galveston but the bulk are concentrated within Galveston’s East End Historic District.

Although many of the beautiful, majestic oak trees are long gone, they are not forgotten.

Hurricane IkeWith map in hand, ML and I set out to see as many of these sculptures as possible.  Although we enjoyed the whimsical sculptures, we were pleasantly surprised by the beautiful architecture.  Each house was unique and lovely in it’s own right.Georgian architecture

Texas architectureWithout the tree sculpture tour incentive, I’m not sure we would have ventured up and down all the residential streets, but I’m really glad we did.

I was so taken by the houses, the architecture, and the gardens that I just had to show the area to hubby.

The next day Al and I went for our morning walk up and down the streets of Galveston’s East End Historic District in lieu of the usual walk on the beach.

Tree carving
The owners of the home own a grey Great Dane and they commissioned the artist to carve a replica of their beloved dog. The tree had actually grown around the fence at the spot where the paws grip the fence.

The Galveston tree sculptures represent a very small percentage of the trees destroyed by Hurricane Ike.  Several organizations worked together to ensure 100% of the “Iked” wood was kept out of landfills.

tree carving
Yes, Toto and the Tin Man are both carved from a tree and still rooted to the ground

Some of the wood was used to restore an American historic whaling ship, 200 tons went to Malago, Spain, to build a full scale replica of the Brig “Galveztown”, and a local lumber yard took a fair amount.  And yes, 100% of the destroyed trees were repurposed in some form.

Tree Scuplture
a Grandmother reading. This tree sculpture sits in a park. How appropriate!
Geisha and Angels
A carved Geisha represents the homeowners love of the Orient. The smaller sculpture “The Angels” represents the homeowners two granddaughters. The Geisha was carved from the trunk of the tree while The Angels were carved from the top of the tree. The tree was originally taller than the home. “The Angels” carving is one of the few sculptures not still rooted in the ground.

No trip to Galveston Island would be complete without a visit to Galveston’s Historic District and that includes “The Strand“…. our next stop!hurricane Ike

architecure photography

Galveston, Oh Galveston

Have you ever had a place or the name of a city in your head that you just had to visit?  Perhaps you’ve read a magazine article or seen photos of a location and decided right there and then, “I have got to visit that place”.  Or how about the lyrics of a song causing a sense of intrigue?Galveston Texas

Galveston oh GalvestonI was but a wee little lass back in 1969 when Glen Campbell sang one of his most famous songs;

Galveston, Oh Galveston ….. I still hear your sea waves crashing ……. Before I watch your sea birds flying in the sun….. 

At Galveston, at Galveston

Although I was very young, I was old enough to have the catchy tune stick in my head.  I remember asking my mom, “What’s Galveston?”Galveston State park

So this past summer while basking in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains, hubby and I were formulating our winter excursion.  Since our friends from Colorado wanted us to join them once again in Rockport, Texas during the month of January, we knew we’d be returning to the Texas Gulf Coast.seagull

IbisThat said, this was the perfect opportunity for us to visit a place I’ve been curious about for a super long time.

And Galveston has not disappointed.  As a matter of fact, I’ve been pleasantly surprised and enjoying our stay very much…. well, the weather hasn’t always been cooperative, but those storms are soon forgotten once the sun returns.

Speaking of storms, Galveston has survived it’s fair share.  On September 8, 1900, Galveston island was struck by the United States’ deadliest natural disaster; a devastating Category 4 Hurricane with 145 mile per hour winds.

On September 13, 2008 a Category 2 hurricane struck with 110 mile per hour winds. In addition to excessive winds, Hurricane Ike caused extensive damage with a 22 foot storm surge and widespread coastal flooding.

Ashton Villa
there’s a plaque on the wall indicating the water level caused by Hurricane Ike

Ashton Villa

The above photos were taken at the visitor center located in downtown Galveston, Texas.  Throughout the city are little reminders of Ike’s devastation.The StrandMuch of the island has been rebuilt since 2008, but there are still some buildings that remain in a state of disrepair and serve as a constant reminder of the devastation Hurricane Ike caused.Galveston Island TexasNext up girls go wild, or rather bird crazy ….  in the mean time, I’ll keep humming Glen Campbell

Galveston, Oh Galveston…. I still
hear your sea waves crashing…..
At Galveston, at Galveston….
Pleasure Pier


Angular Galveston, Texas

As I was writing a  post in an attempt to get caught up with our travels, I’m distracted once again….. but in a good way by today’s Daily Post photo challenge.  The word ‘angular’ is perfect to share some of Galveston’s beautiful architecture.daily post

daily post photo challengeSince we arrived in Galveston, Texas 10 days ago, I’ve had the opportunity to walk around downtown Galveston a couple of times.  I’m in love with the beautifully restored Victorian homes.  Sure there are still signs here and there of a devastating hurricane that occurred in 2008 – hurricane Ike, but restorations are on going.photographyIn my short time in the area, I do believe I’ve fallen in love.  Galveston has so much to offer and hopefully I can convey all of it’s beauty in upcoming posts.  Stay tuned!Architecture Victorianarchitecure photography

photography architecture

hurricane Ike

the Great Dane dog sculpture was carved from a downed tree caused by hurricane Ike.  There are more tree sculptures located throughout the downtown area.  Talk about a great way of ‘repurposing’

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