In September of 1900, the Great Galveston Hurricane made landfall on the southeast Texas coast, and it would become the deadliest natural disaster in U.S. history, leaving behind an unprecedented swath of destruction in Galveston that effectively ended a long period of prosperity for the gulf city.
After the storm, a large seawall was constructed to help block storm surge that has proven so problematic, and much of the city and its buildings were raised several feet.
But what if that storm had never happened?
There was another hurricane that came 15 years later — would that have spurred the same kinds of changes? Would Galveston have prospered even longer and developed further than Houston? How would Houston itself be different if the 1900 storm hadn’t hit Galveston?
In the audio above, we walk through this hypothetical scenario with University of Houston Professor of Architecture Dr. Bruce Race.