1934 hurricane heavily damaged Matagorda, Palacios

Matagorda County TXGenWeb
Four feet of water was reported in Matagorda. The town of Gulf suffered considerable damage. “Houses blown down in Matagorda were Harry Phillips house, bus garage blown down and bus turned over, gymnasium blown down and badly damaged. Max Steck’s house was unroofed.”

Hurricane’s Toll Mounts
Several Known Dead as 70 to 80 Mile Wind Hits Matagorda Bay Section
No Known Lives Reported Lost Here, Fear Felt For Some; Few Buildings Escape Wind Damage
Much Damage is Suffered 
At Camp Hulen
Many Buildings At B. Y. P. U. Grounds Demolished; 
Repairing Starts
   Battered for hours by hurricane winds and surging waves, the Texas coast, from Freeport to Corpus Christi, Thursday was counting its dead and injured and adding up a huge property damage.
   The storm moved inland Wednesday, after lashing the coast for several hours, the worst of its fury being spent on the Matagorda Bay section.
   At least eight persons were known to be dead and nine were missing. The dead included five at East Morales [Jackson County], in a tornado which ripped thru the section during the storm; one at Texas City and two at Freeport.
   No accurate estimate of the damage could be made Thursday but it was known to be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. 
   Surging tides and the wind wrecked many houses along the coast section and crops were leveled. 
   At Matagorda it was estimated that at least 75 per cent of the houses in the two were either wrecked or damaged.
   $300,000 Damage
   “This town looks about like Angleton did after the storm two years ago,” said one resident of Matagorda, who placed the damage at $300,000 in that town alone.
   Wednesday afternoon a twister tore through Morales, killing Mrs. W. B. George, 72; Neal Lewis, 45, of Wink; his two step-sons, Harvey, 13, and Rowland Brunette, 12, and Handy Cook, a negro.
   Much Property Damage Here
   While Palacios was battered for hours by the hurricane winds, there was no loss of life and but few minor accidents, yet property loss is the greatest in its history.
   The fury of the story struck here shortly before 7 o’clock Wednesday morning. Window panes began to crash, plate glass fronts go in and garages and other out buildings unroofed and crashed. 
   J.L. Koerber’s building, a frame and corrugated sheet iron structure, occupied by the Palacios Auto Co., Inc., was one of the first struck, and the front almost entirely went down. 
   Mr. Koerber and his son, Louis, were in the building and got out without injury. The other walls were left standing but are badly damaged, as well as his stock of Ford parts, tires and etc., and he considers his loss near $6,000, partially covered by insurance.
   The brick building occupied by the Post Office, and owned by Dr. A. B. Cairnes, was damaged when the top of the front wall toppled over, tearing down the awning and breaking one of the front plate glass windows. This damage is estimated about $500.
   The front and north wall of the W. C. Williams building on 5th street were blown out, the plate glass window in Petersen’s Confectionery and one in the Ruthven building crashed, signs and awnings were torn down.
   The Bank building was unroofed as was the Nester Drug Store, and the Auto Inn, garages at City Hotel, Nester Drug Co. and Auto Inn were laid flat as were many at homes throughout the city.
   The high tide took out the pier at the back of the pavilion, the diving shute and a few feet of the front pier at the approach to the shore, but no damage was done at the pavilion itself and will be in readiness by Saturday night for the dance.
   The B.Y.P.U. Grounds were badly hit, hardly a building escaped more or less damage, some totally demolished and small pavilions laid flat. 
   Fences are all down, trees and shrubbery uprooted. Mr. Bob Jolly, accompanied by Mrs. Jolly and Misses Olivia and Jane Elder were down Thursday afternoon looking over the situation and taking pictures to make a report to the Board so as an estimate of damaged could be made.
   The building occupied by the Beacon office was blown out of line, seven window glasses broken, allowing water to cover most of our machinery, and this with the power being off all day Wednesday causes the Beacon to be one day late in reaching our readers.
   The fish and oyster industries suffered heavy losses in the way of shucking houses, and boats. The Ruthven Packing House is badly damaged as is the one of the Liberty Fish and Oyster Company.
   $10,000 Damage at Camp
   Camp Hulen suffered a loss of approximately $10,000 in the hurricane, which includes the demolishing of the two wooden radio towers, the two 476 foot rifle range shelters, the main post exchange and 22 smaller buildings, 19 tent frames and 66 screen doors were also demolished, while a large number of their screen doors were blown off the hinges but not hurt. 27 ventilators, 6 chimneys, 29 chimney tops and parts of the roofs of two building were blown off.  
   Seven buildings were flown off their foundations up to 6 feet. 3 light poles were broken off when buildings were blown against them. 
   Only one electric light wire was broken in one place, but about thirty poles were blown so they lean westward a foot or so. 
   The telephone line to town was blown down.
   The officers Club House was damaged, some of the brick chimney blowing over.
   It is reported that practically all the cottages, piers and boats of the El Campo Club at Carancahua Beach were destroyed, and the Carancahua church blown down.
       Causeway Approaches Out
   Both approaches to the Port Lavaca Causeway went out but are being repaired and traffic over this route is hoped to be resumed by 8 o’clock tonight.
      Captain Stapp, son Bill and daughter, Louise, were out in their boat on the gulf and started back but were caught near the pass and weathered the storm. 
   They have many thrilling experiences to relate.
   While everyone in town has felt the effects of the storm in some way or other, yet there is a feeling of thankfulness that we escaped so well. 
   Confidence of the safety of Palacios from tidal waves is stronger now than ever before and the old adage of that “it’s an ill wind that blows no one good,” is more fully demonstrated.
   Palacios Beacon July 25, 1934
   Gulf Hurricane Sweeps Coast
Matagorda Under Water; Residents are Carried Out in Box Cars
   All coastal counties between Port Arthur and Corpus Christi were in the path of the hurricane that swept over the coastal belt of Texas this morning early and continued its fury throughout the day. 
   Millions of dollars of damage was reported in the coastal belt. Matagorda, Gulf and Palacios suffered tremendous damage in this county. 
   Eighty mile gales were reported in sections and in Bay City at times a 70 mile gale starting out of the northeast and sweeping around to the east came through doing minor damage to frame buildings and shacks.
   People of Matagorda were brought to Bay City in box cars this morning. 
   The highest tidal wave was reported there by old timers swept over the town making any other exit but train impossible. 
   Four feet of water was reported in the town The town of Gulf suffered considerable damage. 
   Houses there and garages were blown down.
    Palacios, reports give out, was badly damaged and even brick buildings were not exempt to the fury of the hurricane.
   Bay City is not badly damaged. 
   Only minor damage can be reported here. Some plate glass windows in the business stores were shattered.
   Reports this morning were that the full blast of the hurricane would strike this afternoon early near Corpus Christi territory and Port O’Connor. 
   The hurricane, a Gulf of Mexico disturbance, came with slight warning; the strong wind of last night and the fast drop of the barometer here created some uneasiness in Bay City. 
   The wind coming out of the northeast was of gale force and gradually gained force in the early hours of the morning as the wind shifted to the east.
   Brave work on the part of the linemen of the Central Power and Light Company had power to the city about 11 o’clock this morning when the wind died down to about 40 miles an hour.
   According to Mr. Ed Baker of Matagorda, who came to Bay City by train this morning, leaving out of there about eight o’clock this morning two hundred Matagorda people boarded box cars and came to Bay City. 
   Mr. Baker stated that water was six to seven feet deep on the east side of town, the flat it is called. Mr. Baker did not know whether all of the people had been removed from that section or not. It was running over the main street of the city then. 
   Water is over the main highway from Matagorda to Bay City. Houses blown down in Matagorda were Harry Phillips house, bus garage blown down and bus turned over, gymnasium blown down and badly damaged. Max Steck’s house was unroofed.
   Mrs. Thompson’s house and John Klingaman’s houses were demolished. A baby was reported injured by flying timber but the child is not reported seriously hurt. 
   The wind was so high when the Matagorda people left on the train that only slow speed was made for several miles.
   Sargent territory received considerable damage and water from the Gulf was reported to have flooded the cotton fields.
   There was no preparation made here for the storm as it came so suddenly and with so much more force than expected. A heavy rain accompanied the blow since early this morning when the wind shifted to the east.—Bay City Tribune
   Palacios Beacon, July 26, 1934

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