Victims of the Galveston Flood

This sculpture, honoring the victims of the 1900 Storm, was last seen in 1919. It is now the subject of an intense search.

We support the move by representatives of several local foundations who have expressed potential interest in supporting the re-creation of a statue dedicated to the 1900 Storm, the original of which vanished a century ago.

“I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to remember that we as a community survived the storm,” Gerald Smith, the Moody Foundation’s senior program officer, said after a private presentation earlier this month at the Rosenberg Library. “I feel the statue would be a tremendous asset for Galveston.”

No one will deny The Great Storm of 1900 changed the course of Galveston, and, by extension, Texas. Until that time, Galveston had been referred to as the Wall Street of the West and many believed, incorrectly, impervious to hurricanes. The city was also among the fastest growing west of the Mississippi River at the time. Great climate, thriving ports and home to one of the busiest immigration centers, Galveston’s future appeared limited by only one’s imagination.

All of that changed on Sept. 8, 1900, with the arrival of the single deadliest hurricane to ever to strike the United States — taking more than 6,000 lives during the tragedy.

Afterward, with a wave of destruction like never seen before on Texas shores, the city of Galveston changed in the eyes of the world. Investment dried up, businesses moved inland — spurring the development of nearby Houston — and the island would forever be different.

“We need Galveston to embrace this,” John Bernardoni, whose great-grandfather, Giovanni Bernardoni, died in the 1900 Storm, urged his audience. “I’m hoping people will come together on this.”

The statue, of which only old, sepia-tinted photographs exists, was created in 1904, depicting a mother, a young girl clinging to her, and a deceased infant cradled in the mother’s arms as the hurricane’s trailing winds press against her. A man’s disembodied arm rises from below in a desperate bid to grasp the debris on which the woman precariously stands.

The statue was sculpted by Pompeo Luigi Coppini, an Italian immigrant and naturalized American who created numerous bronze works throughout Texas, including a tomblike monument to the heroes of the Alamo, a commission awarded to him for the Texas Centennial.

The Great Storm of 1900 was more than a singular event — it literally changed the presence of a city, a region, a state and a nation. To this day, the storm remains the deadliest in history.

We, as a community, owe it to those who perished as well those who bravely rebuilt this city, to support this important effort.

• Leonard Woolsey

Leonard Woolsey: 409-683-5207; leonard.woolsey@galvnews.com

President & Publisher of The Galveston County Daily News.

(8) comments

Steve Fouga

Well, the one depicted is way better than the one we already have, on the seawall. But, we already have the one on the seawall. Plus, we have a museum and numerous structures attesting to both the destructiveness of the 1900 storm and Galveston's survival of it. I think we have the 1900 Storm covered!

Why do we need yet another statue, even if the original looked great?

Unless it's spectacular and FREE, I say we just don't need it. (In other words, I don't want to help pay for it. Sorry.)

Connie Schnitger

I agree

Don Schlessinger

I agree

Jarvis Buckley

I disagree , history of our community
has a great meaning.

Kelly Naschke

I am for the statue too. Sangerfest Park? Maybe move the tacky concession trailer? A Strand location would have maximum exposure and impact.

Carlos Ponce

" (In other words, I don't want to help pay for it. Sorry.)"
Like most statues on the island, funding should come from donations.
Texas Heroes Monument came from Henry Rosenberg
Confederate Heroes Monument - Donations made to Daughters of the Confederacy.
Ten Commandment Monument - Donations made to Fraternal Order of Eagles
But the Jack Johnson statue was paid for by the City of Galveston

Steve Fouga

"Like most statues on the island, funding should come from donations."

[thumbup] Perfect. [thumbup]

Charlotte O'rourke

http://www.mystatesman.com/lifestyles/the-case-lost-pompeo-coppini-statues/QTp8dscSnmGrs5Ay1CweYI/

I think it is a very interesting treasure hunt search and project, and hope the statue comes home to Galveston. I

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