It was on this day in 1900 that the worst hurricane in American history hit Galveston, Texas. At the time Galveston was a beautiful resort town on the eastern end of a barrier island, just off the Texas coast. But the highest point of the island was only 8.7 feet above sea level, and when the storm approached all the bridges off the island were flooded and people were trapped on high ground. The storm hit that evening and by the end of it, more than a third of the entire city was gone. There was barely any trace of the houses or even the streets that had been there before. In total, more than 3,600 houses were completely destroyed. About 37,000 people were on the island when the storm hit. More than 12,000 were still missing weeks later. The official death toll was about 8,000, but most historians think that number is much too low.