in East Texas, near the
county line, an old rock quarry has found a place in Texas
Known today as the Blue Hole, the old quarry supplied much of the
rock used to build Galveston’s
wall after a
hurricane slammed the city in 1900--one of the worst natural disasters
to hit the North American continent.
struck on September 8, killing 10,000 to 12,000 people on Galveston
Island and flooding the city of Galveston
with nearly sixteen feet of water.
The storm lifted debris from one row of buildings and hurled it against
the next row until two-thirds of the city, the fourth largest in Texas,
People trying to make their way through the storm were struck by flying
bricks and lumber and sometimes decapitated by slate from roofs in
the 84-mile-an-hour winds.
Following the storm, using rock from the Blue Hole quarry and other
began work on a six-mile long sea wall standing seventeen feet above
low tide. Sand pumped from the Gulf’s floor also raised the island’s
grade by as much as seventeen feet.
the quarry was closed, it was filled with seeping water and became
as blue as a summer’s sky. One legend says a small railroad car used
to haul rocks out of the quarry was caught at the bottom of the hole.
Before the site was fenced and closed to visitors, teenagers discovered
the Blue Hole as one of the best swimming
holes in East Texas,
even though its rocks, and craggy walls made it a dangerous place
to take a dip.
Mrs. Pearl Witherell of Lufkin
recalls going to the Blue Hole as a teenager with her brothers. “I
was afraid to swim there, but my brothers climbed to the cliff and
dove into the water,” she said.
She recalled the Blue Hole as “one of the prettiest places I had ever
seen,” but by 1975, when she made another visit, “it had been trashed
One story says three teenagers came to the Blue Hole in a blue pickup
truck, parked it on the cliff above the hole, and decided to go skinny-dipping.
As they were swimming, their truck’s brake failed and it and plummeted
to the bottom of the Blue Hole, carrying with it their clothes. The
teenagers walked naked for miles until they found help.
The blue truck supposedly still rests at the bottom of the Blue Hole,
providing a companion to the old railroad car.