Nicholas Clayton designed a number of buildings in Galveston. Among them was the first state medical school. Clayton designed it an the original John Sealy Hospital. Opening in 1891, as the University of Texas Medical Department, the school originally had 13 teachers. In 1919, the name was changed to the University of Texas Medical Branch.
Neither building appears in this 1934 postcard. The Original John Sealy Hospital was replaced long ago, but the original classroom building is now the Ashbel Smith building, affectionately known as "Old Red." That building was restored in the early 1980s. UTMB is currently the largest employer on Galveston Island. Their library features a collection of medical postcards.
The E.S. Levy Building was built in 1871 at the corner of 23rd Street and Market Street (Avenue D). In 1895, it was remodeled for Levy and Co., clothiers for men and boys. The National Hotel chain remodeled it again in 1954. The building was originally the Tremont Opera House. This postcard dates from around the turn of the century and is postmarked in October 1903.
The National Weather service at that time was housed in the third floor of this building, and it is from here that Dr. Isaac Cline issued the hurricane warning on September 6, 1900. The storm of 1900 would be the deadliest storm in U.S. history, killing an estimated 6,000 people. It is estimated that the winds reached 150 miles per hour, but the aenemometer blew away when winds reached 84 mph, early in the storm. Most of the damage and deaths were caused by the high storm surge. At that time, the highest point in the city was only 8.5 feet above sea level, and the average for the city was a mere 4.5 feet! The water level rose twelve feet or more, and huge waves pounded most of the wooden structures on the island to kindling.
Also visible in this card are the Fred Allen & Co. storefront and the streetcar lines. The trolley in Galveston was largely propelled by mule power. Conversion to electric cars began in the 1890s, but was hampered by the storm. All cars were finally converted to electricity by 1910. Today, the Parks Board in Galveston runs a diesel-electric trolley service through downtown and to the beach at the seawall.
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Updated 12 August 1999. HTML corrected 14 September 2003.