UPDATE on Sonnenfield House: My daughter was told the owner was evacuating ahead of the storm, but when I was looking at the after-Ike satellite photos, I spotted what had to be a red vehicle in the drive way. Unfortunately, he stayed one night too long and woke to find his truck already flooded and ended up having to ride it out. The house sits 6 blocks from The Strand. The Strand was flooded and impassable on Thursday. While the huge storm surge created by winds and a monster-sized storm crashed against the Seawall everyone expected to protect them (to a certain point, anyway), the surge itself flowed into Galveston Bay, around the island and flooded the unprotected harborside - something apparently unexpected, particularly that far in advance of the storm itself. Flooding caused a backup in the storm sewer system and it was bubbling up through the neighborhood storm drains, which caused a good part of the mid-island flooding. Further, the waves crashing against the seawall dumped tons of water on the roadway which then flowed down and into the neighborhoods as well. The first floor of the carriage house (garage with apartment on top) was destroyed. The house, despite sitting up several feet above ground level, had 2' of water in it. Needless to say furniture, carpet, equipment, drapes were all damaged as it had not been moved upstairs. Owner believes since the water went down almost as quickly as it came up, some of that can be salvaged. The original hand-laid parquet flooring buckled from the water in the wood. It can be salvaged and relaid. Wall covering on the first floor will likely have to be replaced. I'm not sure whether current owner replaced the original lathing and plaster with sheet rock when he remodled, but in any event lower portions of the walls will likely have to be cut out and replaced. The house has huge storm shutters. Because the winds were less than expected and it has weathered much higher wind speeds, it is likely none of the glazing nor stained glass was damaged. I have no information what damage was done to the filigree/gingerbread that covers the exterior of the house. One tree fell but missed the house. Owner's wife was somehow able to get on the island on Monday, 9/15, and evacuated owner and 2 neighbor families. He apparently has already returned to the island to assist in debris removal and clean-up.
Link to photos of Sonnetheil House: http://home-and-garden.webshots.com/album/566801016kobbIG
This satellite photo taken 9/17 shows the location of the Sonnentheil House. For a larger image click on the photo. To see a large 1.4MG .jpg of this entire area of Galveston, including part of the Cruise Terminal, The Strand, and with the neighborhood highlighted (Sonnentheil House and Carriage House is lower left):
Link to NOAH with incredible post-Ike satellite photos of the Texas Gulf coast. Double click image for full-size image. These are 3 to almost 4MG's so may take a while to open. Because the photos are angled you will see all white at fist. Scroll down or all the way right to begin viewing the images.