Hurricane Harvey, which the New York Times reports has so far been blamed for at least 10 deaths since making landfall in Texas on Friday night, is expected to be "probably the worst disaster the state’s seen,” in terms of how involved recovery efforts will be, William “Brock” Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said Sunday.
As heavy rain and flooding continues, the question of that recovery looms large — but this is not the first time that parts of Texas have faced such a question.
Over the weekend, civil-engineering experts and officials in the port city of Galveston expressed relief that the barrier island did not get squarely hit as it did by Hurricane Ike in 2008 and that the area's seawall had not been breached, and city officials confirmed to TIME on Monday that the city has not been notably affected by the storm. That seawall is a measure of protection that the city has had for more than a century, and for good reason. On Sep. 8, 1900, a Category 4 hurricane boasting a 15.7-foot-tall storm surge made landfall, killing at least 6,000 of its 37,000 residents and destroying more than 3,600 buildings, according to the Galveston County Daily News. That storm is still considered the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history.
Now, as Texas confronts another tragic natural disaster, the lessons of that time have once again come into play. Rebuilding Galveston was a matter of human will, high costs, engineering feats and more.