In May 1935, Hurricane Ida roared ashore in Galveston, Texas, where it caused catastrophic flooding. On this day in 1935, W.G. Mead photographed the storm’s aftermath.
Though Ida was a Category 5 hurricane, the nature of Cooke’s photography makes it appear as if it were a mere Category 1 storm. Cooke was among the first photographers ever to witness the natural disaster, according to the National Park Service.
Cooke stayed on his boat long enough to capture this panorama of several streets, fields and highways in Galveston.
Cooke endured winds of up to 175 mph as Ida was moving inland, the New York Times reported.
President Hoover declared an “immediate state of war” with Mexico and dispatched 2,500 troops to Texas as residents fled for their lives.
A 1,500-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border was closed, and trains were cut off from the mainland after 70-foot trees fell onto their tracks. The Energy Department built a control room and postponed exercises for the remainder of the year due to the potential for storm effects.
Cooke stayed in Galveston for three weeks after Ida passed through, capturing a wonderful panorama of the city’s trees.
In this 1916 photo, the hurricane’s impact is visible in these streets, buildings and garages. As Ida swirled into Galveston, Chronicle photographer O. Milton Braunecker snapped these photos in his studio, according to the library of Congress.
Galveston was in the midst of a contentious debate over the future of the city when the hurricane struck, the Houston Chronicle reported. It would be a year before residents would vote to stay or move.