Saturday, October 2, 2010
The USS Comal at the Galveston Wharf, September 1900
The 'SS Comal', of the Mallory Steamship Line, was built in 1885 and scrapped in 1935. The ship was 340 feet long with 3 decks, and could carry 3,000 bales of cotton, rooms for 100 first class passengers, and more in steerage class. The Mallory Line (New York & Texas Steamship Co.) was one of the old family-owned passenger lines in the coastwise trade. Utilizing eight ships on this route, the line connected New York with Galveston, Texas with twice-a-week arrivals and departures.
The New York Times of September 12, 1900 reported the safe arrival at Galveston of the steamship 'Comal' on Monday morning [September 10]. "Grave fears as to the vessel's safety have existed since the receipt of the news of the West Indian hurricane."
"On the Mallory wharves is a conglomerated pile of boxcars and boats and cotton wreckage of every description. The Mallory liner 'Comal' arrived there just after the storm, and, thank goodness, the crew had sense enough to stay on board the boat. Dead bodies are in all the wreckage under the wharf just like dead rats." [The Great Galveston Disaster, by Paul Lester, 1900, page 206.]
It seems that the 'Comal' had actually weathered its own hurricane a few days earlier along the northeastern coast of Florida, with some reports saying it was the Galveston Storm, while most experts attributing it as another storm or hurricane altogether.
The building on the left side is unidentified. The 'Comal' may or may not be docked at the Mallory Wharf at the foot of 25th Street, looking west.