The Strand's Historic Buildings Get A Boost

The Strand, downtown Galveston's most historic district, is getting a little help today in its efforts to preserve itself.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has named "The Cast-Iron Architecture of Galveston" as one of its 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

Even before Ike there were worries about the buildings which had been constructed back when Galveston was Texas's main port. But the storm did some major damage,  a Trust V-P reported recently.

The 15 block Strand National Historic Landmark District looks good physically in terms of recovery from the 10 - 13 feet of water that engulfed it during Hurricane Ike.

All buildings have been cleaned out, and rehab work is underway on most. George Mitchell estimates that his 20 plus historic buildings on the Island suffered some $20 million damage with insurance covering about $10 million - he is doing the rest. (One hard lesson learned was that George's 39 elevators were not locked in upper-floor positions as Ike was downgraded to a Force 2, and so when power went off, they automatically descended to their lowest positions...and were wrecked by the ensuing flooding.)

Lots of places have made the Trust's annual list -- last year included such sites as a blimp hangar in Calilfornia, the neighborhood around the Peace Bridge in Buffalo and the Lower East Side in Manhattan.

Getting on the list means winning millions and millions of dollars in restoration funds. In Bizarro World. Here on earth, it's more of a subtle victory.

"The designation has been a powerful tool for raising awareness and rallying resources to save endangered sites from every region of the country," the NTHP says. "At times, that attention has garnered public support to quickly rescue a treasured landmark, while in other instances is has been the impetus of a long battle to save an important piece of our history."

If we had to guess what's going to happen in Texas, we're going to have to go with b).

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