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The John L. Gardner Collection - Hurricane Carla (1961)

John L. Gardner

Silent | 1961

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  •  The island’s original Pleasure Pier braced waves of up to 10 to 12 feet, The pier was so severely damaged that it was shut down. The USS Flagship Hotel opened its its place in 1965. The hotel closed in 2008 after experiencing extreme damage during Hurricane Ike.  Four years later, the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier opened. 
  •  Aftermath, going street by street and recording the wreckage 
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This home movie captures the scene in Galveston during and after Hurricane Carla in September 1961. The storm made landfall near Port O’Connor on September 11. Tidal flooding, strong winds, and tornadoes as high as category F4 destroyed hundreds of homes and stores and seriously injured dozens of people across the Texas coast.
Carla is the second most intense hurricane to ever hit the Texas coast (the most intense was the "Indianola" hurricane of 1886.) Though the storm made landfall between Port O'Connor and Port Lavaca, it was so large that entire coast was affected; over half a million residents were evacuated, and damage was reported as far inland as Dallas. Carla caused $325 million (today $2.03 billion) in damage and killed 31 Texans.
An interesting note from the 1961 hurricane: then little known news anchor Dan Rather reported live during the storm from the Galveston seawall. It was the first live broadcast during a hurricane, later to become common practice in weather reporting.