Galveston's Stormy Past
40,000 trees were killed on Galveston Island during Hurrican Ike in 2008. The city found chain saw sculptors to work on the trees in the historic district with amazing results.
Galveston tree sculptors saw destruction and turned disaster into a thing of beauty. Hurricane Ike destroyed many of the ancient trees lining Galveston's streets. They are now beautiful works of art.
Hurricanes have caused death and destruction in Galveston for a hundred years and more.
Hurricane Ike visited Galveston Island with devastating results for the people and infrastructure. 40, 000 trees were killed during the storm surge on the island leaving the landscape bare. In an unusual and creative action Galveston Island Tree Conservancy member Donna Leibbert found chain saw sculptures to create dead tree sculptures from the dead trees in the historic district. What was a terrible eyesore and reminder of the horrors of Hurricane Ike now is a charming visual sight to the eyes! If you are visiting Galveston soon you must tour the city to see these beautiful works of art!
Galveston Island Tree Conservancy
Galveston Island Tree Conservancy member Donna Leibbert petitioned city hall for permission to have the trees used as sculptures at city hall but the city was not at first in favor, fearing that the sculptor might get hurt and the city would be liable. Eventually Ms Leibbert was able to gain support for her project and a new tourist attraction was born. Others in the city were heart broken at losing their beloved trees that had been part of the historic district for many years.
While most Galveston natives approve the project there has been concern that inaproppriate images might be chose. Taste is subjective and some fear the historic character would be changed if the carvings were permitted on the divided Broadway esplanade where hundreds of live oaks on the center divide were killed during the storm surge.
Although the Texas Historic Commission is unlikely to give permission for the Broadway esplanade project, the Conservancy has begun fund raising to create dead tree sculptures at Adoue Park and Jones Park and needs between $3,000 and $5,000 to complete the project.
Artist James Phillips who lives in Clear Lake, Texas donated his time for the first sculpture. Local artist Earl Jones has done work on a number of sculptures.
The dead tree sculptures can be found all over Galveston island on every street and corner. The artists took the time to look at each tree and find the inner heart that turned the trees into mermaids, dolphins, squirrels, dogs and even angels. These sculptures are truly spectacular and will stand the test of time and the weather. They are worth a visit.
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Carmen Oppermann on May 16, 2012:
Thanks for sharing this pictures. Great carvings
moiauge from New York on May 07, 2012:
Rene Torrez on April 06, 2012:
Please call me we want to have you carve an Indian chief head for our wrestling coach. We are the Keller Indians! 817-204-8133
ndhayes on September 24, 2011:
Tks so much, but I have found a group in Houston of aspiring artist to take our project.
Sandra Mireles (author) from Texas on September 21, 2011:
Hello ndhayes. I do not know how to contact the artists but you might contact the historical society in Galveston, Texas for that information. The artists live locally I believe. .
ndhayes on September 11, 2011:
Do u have contact for any of the artist or pass my info to them. Our community was so impressed that we decided to have a dead tree sculptured in our common area garden.
Sandra Mireles (author) from Texas on August 31, 2011:
I am sorry but I do not know how to contact Earl Jones.
ndhayes on August 14, 2011:
Amazing, creative and a plus for the city tourist. I am originally from Galveston and had heard about the tree sculptors but only recently saw them with a senior group. I would like toin get contact with earl jones for a possible project for the group. Please help if u can.
Robert Gamble on July 08, 2011:
i going to wire about trees shrubs and other stuff lit etkat great post BTW.
suzetteboston on February 02, 2011:
Wow, I've never seen these though we visit Galveston every year. Thanks.
Judy W on November 08, 2010:
Is there a list of addresses for all the carvings?
Donna Hall on June 30, 2010:
Deb, you are correct in your assumption about the sculptures on the MS coast resulting from Katrina in '05. We are very proud of our rebuilding and beautification efforts here on the MS Gulf Coast and happy to see that the wonderful people of Galveston TX have the same 'git it done' mentality.
Patty Inglish MS from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation on June 26, 2010:
Voted up and rated. This is a great story and lovely photos.
Sandra Mireles (author) from Texas on June 18, 2010:
Thanks for the heads up, Chris. I will check it out.
CHRIS REMY on June 18, 2010:
Has anybody taken a picture of the tree carving in pirates beach of the texas longhorn.
Check it out
Joanna Cobaugh on June 18, 2010:
What a wonderful Idea. Happy to see some progress of the mess left behind.
SDK on June 17, 2010:
Lynn...Most are on Ball Street. We got this in an email slide show today. I can't forward the slide show, so I did a search and found this link. This is incredible! God is so good to give people gifts like this.
funfix.com from funfix.com on June 16, 2010:
Sandra Mireles (author) from Texas on June 16, 2010:
Lynn, I do not have addresses. I do know this was done in the Historic district. You could probably check with the historical society or the tourism dept on the island. By now they must have brochures.
Deb on June 16, 2010:
I recently made a day trip to Galveston and saw many of the trees pictured above. The work is wonderful and it is a great way to utilize something natural. My husband and I had made a trip to Biloxi in December of last year and found the same type of tree art all along the coast line. I would assume those trees were carved due to Hurricane Katrina- no matter the place either Galveston or Biloxi- they are truly works of art!!!
Lynn on June 11, 2010:
Loved the pictures and your article. We were in Galveston recently, but were not able to locate these sculptures. Can you give us the addresses so that we can see them when we return? Thanks.
Sandra Mireles (author) from Texas on June 11, 2010:
Peggy, I am so glad to hear about the chunks of oak trees being used to build a sailing ship. Great use of these wonderful trees. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on June 11, 2010:
I just saw on the news that many of the large chunks of oak trees are being shipped to another country where they are going to convert the wood into a sailing ship which will at some time make it back to Galveston. At least these once magnificent trees are being put to good use.
Now...I would like to see these sculptures in person someday. Understand that they are continuing to make more. Enjoyed this hub!
David Alexander on May 10, 2010:
I give historical tour's on the island. These sculpture's have become a big part of my tour. I go by four of them during the tour. Trying to figure out a way to get by more.
couponalbum from Sunnyvale, CA on April 23, 2010:
Now this is what we call an ART. Really nice hub, GREAT SCULPTURES! Liked your other hubs too! Joining your fanclub and would like to invite you to join mine.
Michael Shane from Gadsden, Alabama on April 07, 2010:
I love wood sculptures! These are all great works of art. Thanks for sharing....
Sandra Mireles (author) from Texas on March 31, 2010:
Thank you for commenting. I will look up Paete Laguna.
pinkhawk from Pearl of the Orient on March 30, 2010:
...wow! fantastic sculptures, very creative; they made the dead trees to rejuvenate with those magnificent artwork.
I think it's counterpart here in the Philippines is "Paete, Laguna" which is also known for their sculpture. :)
Thank you ma'am for sharing! :)
Sandra Mireles (author) from Texas on March 23, 2010:
Ken, Galveston was so badly devastated after Hurricane Ike it is a miracle that anything was standing. The salt water in the storm surge is what killed these trees. This is a wonderful way to bring beauty from the ashes of the storm. Thanks for your comments.
Ken R. Abell on March 23, 2010:
Wow. What a marvelous story. Thank you for sharing it. What a great idea to reclaim beauty out of destruction. The sculptures are absolutely amazing.
Sandra Mireles (author) from Texas on March 23, 2010:
Aren't they wonderful, Ann? I love them!
Ann Nonymous from Virginia on March 23, 2010:
Amazing, exotic, and very unexpected! This is true talent! Thanks sooo much for sharing with us, smireless! I have never seen anything like it! Bookmarking it for sure!
Sandra Mireles (author) from Texas on March 22, 2010:
Thank you, jjmyles! Can you believe they do this with a chain saw? Amazing!
jjmyles from Pacific Northwest on March 22, 2010:
Great Hub! The art created out of the dead trees is awesome~
Tom Whitworth from Moundsville, WV on March 22, 2010:
Very creative work. It's amazing what can be done with trees that would have gone to waste.
Sandra Mireles (author) from Texas on March 22, 2010:
I thought these sculptures were awesome. I am going to investigate to see what else they have done in the city. Thanks for commenting!
UlrikeGrace from Canada on March 22, 2010:
Wow they have done a great job on these trees....again nothing like taking a disaster and creating beauty from it...interesting hub...