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Corpus Christi reflects on 1919 hurricane with commemoration events

Posted at 1:45 PM, Sep 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-15 18:27:18-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It has been 100 years since the 1919 hurricane, which, at the time, was referred to as the storm of 1919, devastated Corpus Christi.

Following the deadly storm, bodies were buried at Rose Hill Cemetery. Saturday morning, folks gathered there for a memorial service.

At Rose Hill Cemetery, there is a large stone with a memorial plaque honoring the unidentified dead.

"It was fitting that we come here and remember everybody that died, both the ones that were on our list of the dead but also the many that were unidentified and that are behind, underneath this stone. Unidentified dead." Co-author of the book '1919 The Storm' Jim Moloney said.

The official death toll from the hurricane was 284, but Moloney believes hundreds more may have died. Historians don't know exactly how many are underneath the memorial stone.

Wind was a factor in the storm, but the main cause of death and destruction was high water. This water surge reached about 12 ft. and turned the area into debris.

"The citizens actually did all the work of cleaning up the streets, taking all the debris out and making a big pile down about where the Corpus Christi museum is today," says Moloney, "two blocks long and two blocks wide."

The damage from the storm set a lot of infrastructural change into motion.

"Well it changed the entire city because we got the port which is a major economic driver, they built the sea wall, gave us shoreline so it changed the physical aspects of the city." Moloney said.

At the Museum of Science and History, folks got the chance to learn more about what took place there in 1919. Many even sharing stories of their own ancestors that have been passed down for generations.

"it's amazing the ties that are still there with the ones that are lost with the ones that are still here, which says a whole lot about Corpus Christi and the Coastal Bend, that we're still here. Author of 'Storm Over the Bay' Mary Jo O'Rear said.

If you missed the events today, The Nueces County Historical Commission will unveil a public display of the Hurricane on Monday. The unveiling begins at 10 a.m. at the Nueces County Courthouse.