Sunday, July 12, 2009

Galveston's Rosenberg Library Re-Opens Two Floors to Patrons

It is still painful to look around Galveston and remember what the city was like before Hurricane Ike devastated it in September 2008. Such massive destruction of property makes for a very slow recovery, but Galveston is making great progress in getting things as close to "normal" as they ever will be again.

This week comes the good news that the city's Rosenberg Library, housed in a 105-year-old building, is ready to open two floors to patrons. Details are from the Houston Chronicle:
Almost 10 months after Hurricane Ike flooded its ground floor with more than seven feet of water and dealt a knockout punch to its electrical system, Galveston's venerable Rosenberg Library will take a big step toward normality today when it reopens its second floor and mezzanine.

The areas house the bulk of the library's collections and a 45-unit computer lab. For the first time since the September storm, library patrons will be able to check out books without 24-hours advance notice.

The Rosenberg, now 105 years old, was inundated by saltwater, which destroyed ground-floor air conditioning, telephone and electrical equipment. Executive Director John Augelli estimated repairs cost about $4 million.

The first floor, which previously housed the children's collection and the Wortham Auditorium, likely will remain closed for at least a year, he said.

Augelli said the library had too much money invested in real estate to consider abandoning the historic structure. In years before the hurricane, the library installed a new roof and launched a multimillion-dollar project to reinforce tons of decorative stonework in jeopardy of crumbling from the building's exterior.

Augelli said about $2.5 million of the repair cost will be covered by insurance; the rest by grants, donations and payments from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Having struggled with my own insurance company for four months after Ike over how much the company owed me for a new roof, I can imagine the hassle that must be going on with the insurers of the Rosenberg Library. That makes their progress especially nice to see.


  1. Wow, it makes sense that little houses will be damaged by hurricanes, but when you see something big and sturdy like this - the power of nature is just amazing!

  2. Most of the real damage from Ike came from the incredible amount of water that came ashore. Homes were pushed completely off of concrete slabs and never found, etc. Most of the damage to the library was from flooding, I think. My roof, on the other hand, sustained its damage from the winds since we are far enough north of the coast to avoid the storm surge.