Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Galveston Island’s Tree Sculptures. . .a second life

Last week  we stopped at the Galveston Island Visitor Center in the historic Ashton Villa.  It was a spur of the moment stop--we thought we pretty much knew what we wanted to do and see but were happy we made the stop.  Not only did we learn a little more about post-hurricane Galveston, we picked up a brochure about the tree sculptures.

Bit of trivia: see the short iron fence surrounding Ashton Villa?  That fence is 6’ tall!  Following the devastating 1900 hurricane half of it was buried when the owner built the soil up around the mansion.  Consequently the first floor windows are at ground level .


Galveston experienced extreme damage on September 13, 2008 when hurricane Ike slammed onto the coast and the city.  Many of the island’s trees were uprooted by the wind and surge waves but salty sea water was responsible for killing thousands more.   Remaining after the salt water killed many of the huge old oak trees that lined residential streets were the stumps, many of which have taken on a new life in the form of sculptures.

Brochure in hand, with my chauffer Gary doing the driving I jumped in and out of the truck to take photos of as many of the twenty-six sculptures we could find.

This informational sign is posted in the yard beside the impressive “Herons” sculpture.



This is titled “Birds of Galveston.”   I can only imagine how majestic this oak tree must have been!


A creature of the sea:  “Mermaid Holding Clam Shell.”


“Great Dane” is Gary’s favorite.


I only got a back view of the mermaid (in Christmas hat) on “Dolphins and Mermaid.”  Note the cute little Victorian house in the background.  Most of the homes in the area are huge beautifully renovated Victorians.


Ah, isn’t “Squirrel” cute?  Appears that he was carved and then placed on the stump.  Most of the sculptures are carved in place in an existing stump.


These two, “Owl” and “Wildlife Totem Pole” are in the side yard of a home.  I didn’t feel that I should go tromping into the yard to get my photo! (Plus there was an unfriendly-looking barking dog guarding his property!)


I’m guessing that the deck was built around the oak from which “Dolphins” emerges.  It is in the same yard as “Owl” and “Wildlife Totem Pole” (and the barking guard dog!)


“Fire Hydrant” and. . .


looking up at the fire hydrant is “Dalmatian”  Wonder what he’s thinking about?


Frog?  No it’s “Toad!”  A clear example of carving in place on a tree stump.


“Yellow Lab” is SO cute!  The expression on her face is priceless. . .I think she knows what a handful she has in that basket!   (The puppies and basket aren’t carved.)


Interesting bit of trivia about “Tin Man & Toto”


Tin Man appears to have been carved in place while Toto was carved, then moved into position.


Close-up of the adorable “Toto.”


“Monument to Galveston’s trees”


“Large Pelican” I would have titled it “Large Pelican with fish!” Note that this Victorian is still undergoing “Hurricane Ike” repairs.  This is a typical scene throughout Galveston Island.


“Geisha” is in the parkway and. . .


“Sister Angels,” my favorite, is in the yard.  Love the lacy Gingerbread woodworking on the porch in the background.


“Pelican Sitting on Piling”


Found one under construction!  I wonder what it will be titled?  Elvis related? Fender guitar? Home on the Range?


All of the above are located in a residential neighborhood of Victorian homes.

“Hand Clutching Diploma” is behind a fence at a neighborhood youth center. The inscription at the base reads “education is power.”



  1. Oh my goodness - that is taking a tragedy and making it into a blessing! Very interesting. sandie

  2. Such a wonderful blog, I am really enjoying reading!


  3. This is beautiful. I live north of Houston and had no idea about these trees. Once the weather gets warmer I'll be making a trip down to Galveston. Thanks for visiting my blog and I'm a follower your blog also.