Page 68 - June2017

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the peninsula. The two men began a search and rescue effort of
the area. 
Wiggins’ great-grandfather set out with his large wagons loaded
with supplies and rode around the area giving stranded people
water and food, and Wiggins’ grandfather accompanied him
in his skiff and brought many half-drowned people back to the
hotel, where it was safe.
Later, Holt was among the engineers involved in the initial
construction of the seawall. 
Cade and his wife, Katherine Cade Holt, went on to build a two-
story house on Avenue P 1/2 in Galveston that has withstood
every hurricane since then and remains to this day. Wiggins
attests that “he was careful to build it behind the seawall.” 
The couple remained on Galveston Island until their deaths, Holt
in 1963 at age 88 and his wife in 1970 at age 87. The couple is
buried at Galveston Memorial Park. 
After more than a century, the heroic exploits of those
who rescued survivors and led the charge to protect lives in
the future are back in the spotlight—and that is something
that warms Wiggins’ heart both as a historian and a proud
descendant. 
“Grandpa’s name is etched on the granite monument near
Murdoch’s Pier. For years, I could barely make out his name on
it, as all the names had become eroded and almost gone from
winds and weather,” Wiggins remembers. “A few years ago, a
local group refurbished the monument, and Grandpa’s name
again became legible. I was so proud.” 
into this urban park with planter boxes, and she allowed people
to put chairs and coolers and boom boxes along the seawall,
which basically turned it into one big party,” Fountain says. 
“It was a big mistake. People really disrespected the beach, set
up along the sidewalk, and the area became unruly and unsafe.
Although it may have seemed appropriate at first, the decision
was ultimately seen as a horrible idea. Later, the alcohol ban on
the beach was fully enforced and people were prohibited from
setting up beach camps on the seawall, and that’s why today you
can ride bikes and skateboard down the seawall, and why it is
safe and family friendly.” 
The seawall was last tested in 2008, when Hurricane
Ike made a direct hit. The Category 2 storm packed a Category
5 storm surge, causing widespread damage. In addition
to significant damage to homes and other structures, the
storm walloped the Flagship Hotel, University of Texas Medical
Branch, Galveston Railroad Museum and Lone Star Flight
Museum. The historic Balinese Room, where luminaries like
Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Bob Hope had performed, was
swept away, and the 61st Street Pier, Murdoch’s, and Hooters
were completely destroyed.  
“But most of the heavy damage came from the harbor side with
the storm surge. There was wind damage to the seawall, but zero
flood damage, and it certainly saved lives and protected the city
from even more catastrophe,” Fountain says.
Four years after Ike, the city celebrated the opening
of Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier, which was a modern
reinvention of the original Pleasure Pier destroyed in 1961 by
Hurricane Carla. 
“After Galveston experiences a hurricane, there’s just no
question what will happen: We’re just going to clean up, rebuild,
and do it again.” 
Etched in time immemorial
For Wiggins, Fountain’s book does more than offer an in-depth
look at a civil engineering marvel that is too often overlooked:
It also pays homage to the men and women who survived the
1900 storm and helped rebuild the city, including her maternal
grandfather, Charles Holt, Jr., and great-grandfather, Charles
Taylor “C.T.” Cade.  
“At that time, Grandpa Holt was a 25-year-old surveyor and
assistant city engineer. He was living in a boarding house near
Tremont Street, and he never told us any details about his
experience during the storm, but the papers reported some of
his activities,” Wiggins says.  
According to reports of the time, in the immediate aftermath
of the storm, Holt jumped in his motorized skiff, and sped over
to Bolivar Peninsula, where he joined Cade, his future father-in-
law, who owned the Sea View Hotel, a fashionable resort and
spa, located on a hill forty-five feet above sea level at the tip of
Book Signings
with Author Kimber Fountain
— June 3 —
2-5pm, Rosenberg Library, 2310 Sealy.
Brief lecture and Q&A session to begin at 3pm.
(Books will be available for purchase, and all proceeds
will be donated to the Galveston & Texas History Center.)  
— June 9 —
6:30pm, Hitchcock Public Library
— June 10 —
3-5pm, Eighteen Seventy One, 2002 Strand St.
— June 17 —
2-4pm, The Admiralty, 2221 Strand St. 
— July 15 —
3-5pm, the Galveston Bookshop, 317 23rd St.  
A full schedule of book signings, lectures and
release parties for Kimber Fountain’s new book,
“Galveston Seawall Chronicles”
(Arcadia Publishing/The History Press), is available
at
Facebook.com/AuthorKimberFountain.
Balinese Room expansion Jan. 17, 1942
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GALVESTON MONTHLY |
JUNE 2017