Galveston's Dead Tree Sculpture Carvings

Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts

Galveston's Stormy Past

40,000 trees were killed on Galveston Island during Hurrican Ike in 2008. The city found chain saw sculptors to work on the trees in the historic district with amazing results.

Galveston tree sculptors saw destruction and turned disaster into a thing of beauty. Hurricane Ike destroyed many of the ancient trees lining Galveston's streets. They are now beautiful works of art.

Hurricanes have caused death and destruction in Galveston for a hundred years and more.

A James Phillips sculpture of the tin man is made of live oak and located at 17th and Winnie in Galveston. Image Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
A James Phillips sculpture of the tin man is made of live oak and located at 17th and Winnie in Galveston. Image Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts
A James Phillips sculpture of a pelican made of cedar is located at 1609 Post Office in Galveston. Image Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
A James Phillips sculpture of a pelican made of cedar is located at 1609 Post Office in Galveston. Image Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts

Hurricane Ike

Hurricane Ike visited Galveston Island with devastating results for the people and infrastructure. 40, 000 trees were killed during the storm surge on the island leaving the landscape bare. In an unusual and creative action Galveston Island Tree Conservancy member Donna Leibbert found chain saw sculptures to create dead tree sculptures from the dead trees in the historic district. What was a terrible eyesore and reminder of the horrors of Hurricane Ike now is a charming visual sight to the eyes! If you are visiting Galveston soon you must tour the city to see these beautiful works of art!

Galveston Island Tree Conservancy

Galveston Island Tree Conservancy member Donna Leibbert petitioned city hall for permission to have the trees used as sculptures at city hall but the city was not at first in favor, fearing that the sculptor might get hurt and the city would be liable. Eventually Ms Leibbert was able to gain support for her project and a new tourist attraction was born. Others in the city were heart broken at losing their beloved trees that had been part of the historic district for many years.

While most Galveston natives approve the project there has been concern that inaproppriate images might be chose. Taste is subjective and some fear the historic character would be changed if the carvings were permitted on the divided Broadway esplanade where hundreds of live oaks on the center divide were killed during the storm surge.

Although the Texas Historic Commission is unlikely to give permission for the Broadway esplanade project, the Conservancy has begun fund raising to create dead tree sculptures at Adoue Park and Jones Park and needs between $3,000 and $5,000 to complete the project.

Artist James Phillips who lives in Clear Lake, Texas donated his time for the first sculpture. Local artist Earl Jones has done work on a number of sculptures.

Tourist Attraction

The dead tree sculptures can be found all over Galveston island on every street and corner. The artists took the time to look at each tree and find the inner heart that turned the trees into mermaids, dolphins, squirrels, dogs and even angels. These sculptures are truly spectacular and will stand the test of time and the weather. They are worth a visit.

A markerGalveston Texas -
Galveston, TX, USA
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Galveston was hard hit during Hurricane Ike which broke many of the trees located on the island. Local artists turned them into tree sculptures.

More Dead Tree Sculptures

Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts
Artist Earl Jones says he drew the inspiration for his art from the dolphins he sees every day in his work at a ferry landing. Image Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Artist Earl Jones says he drew the inspiration for his art from the dolphins he sees every day in his work at a ferry landing. Image Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright  2010 Paul Roberts
Copyright 2010 Paul Roberts

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Comments 37 comments

Carmen Oppermann 4 years ago

Thanks for sharing this pictures. Great carvings


moiauge profile image

moiauge 4 years ago from New York

Wonderful!


Rene Torrez 4 years ago

Please call me we want to have you carve an Indian chief head for our wrestling coach. We are the Keller Indians! 817-204-8133


ndhayes 5 years ago

Tks so much, but I have found a group in Houston of aspiring artist to take our project.


Smireles profile image

Smireles 5 years ago from Texas Author

Hello ndhayes. I do not know how to contact the artists but you might contact the historical society in Galveston, Texas for that information. The artists live locally I believe. .


ndhayes 5 years ago

Do u have contact for any of the artist or pass my info to them. Our community was so impressed that we decided to have a dead tree sculptured in our common area garden.


Smireles profile image

Smireles 5 years ago from Texas Author

I am sorry but I do not know how to contact Earl Jones.


ndhayes 5 years ago

Amazing, creative and a plus for the city tourist. I am originally from Galveston and had heard about the tree sculptors but only recently saw them with a senior group. I would like toin get contact with earl jones for a possible project for the group. Please help if u can.


Robert Gamble 5 years ago

i going to wire about trees shrubs and other stuff lit etkat great post BTW.


suzetteboston profile image

suzetteboston 5 years ago

Wow, I've never seen these though we visit Galveston every year. Thanks.


Judy W 6 years ago

Is there a list of addresses for all the carvings?


Donna Hall 6 years ago

Deb, you are correct in your assumption about the sculptures on the MS coast resulting from Katrina in '05. We are very proud of our rebuilding and beautification efforts here on the MS Gulf Coast and happy to see that the wonderful people of Galveston TX have the same 'git it done' mentality.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America

Voted up and rated. This is a great story and lovely photos.


Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

Thanks for the heads up, Chris. I will check it out.


CHRIS REMY 6 years ago

Has anybody taken a picture of the tree carving in pirates beach of the texas longhorn.

Check it out


Joanna Cobaugh 6 years ago

What a wonderful Idea. Happy to see some progress of the mess left behind.


SDK 6 years ago

Lynn...Most are on Ball Street. We got this in an email slide show today. I can't forward the slide show, so I did a search and found this link. This is incredible! God is so good to give people gifts like this.


funfix.com profile image

funfix.com 6 years ago from funfix.com

awesome!


Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

Lynn, I do not have addresses. I do know this was done in the Historic district. You could probably check with the historical society or the tourism dept on the island. By now they must have brochures.


Deb 6 years ago

I recently made a day trip to Galveston and saw many of the trees pictured above. The work is wonderful and it is a great way to utilize something natural. My husband and I had made a trip to Biloxi in December of last year and found the same type of tree art all along the coast line. I would assume those trees were carved due to Hurricane Katrina- no matter the place either Galveston or Biloxi- they are truly works of art!!!


Lynn  6 years ago

Loved the pictures and your article. We were in Galveston recently, but were not able to locate these sculptures. Can you give us the addresses so that we can see them when we return? Thanks.


Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

Peggy, I am so glad to hear about the chunks of oak trees being used to build a sailing ship. Great use of these wonderful trees. Thanks for reading and commenting.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

I just saw on the news that many of the large chunks of oak trees are being shipped to another country where they are going to convert the wood into a sailing ship which will at some time make it back to Galveston. At least these once magnificent trees are being put to good use.

Now...I would like to see these sculptures in person someday. Understand that they are continuing to make more. Enjoyed this hub!


David Alexander 6 years ago

I give historical tour's on the island. These sculpture's have become a big part of my tour. I go by four of them during the tour. Trying to figure out a way to get by more.


couponalbum profile image

couponalbum 6 years ago from Sunnyvale, CA

Now this is what we call an ART. Really nice hub, GREAT SCULPTURES! Liked your other hubs too! Joining your fanclub and would like to invite you to join mine.


Michael Shane profile image

Michael Shane 6 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

I love wood sculptures! These are all great works of art. Thanks for sharing....


Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you for commenting. I will look up Paete Laguna.


pinkhawk profile image

pinkhawk 6 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

...wow! fantastic sculptures, very creative; they made the dead trees to rejuvenate with those magnificent artwork.

I think it's counterpart here in the Philippines is "Paete, Laguna" which is also known for their sculpture. :)

Thank you ma'am for sharing! :)


Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

Ken, Galveston was so badly devastated after Hurricane Ike it is a miracle that anything was standing. The salt water in the storm surge is what killed these trees. This is a wonderful way to bring beauty from the ashes of the storm. Thanks for your comments.


Ken R. Abell profile image

Ken R. Abell 6 years ago from ON THE ROAD

Wow. What a marvelous story. Thank you for sharing it. What a great idea to reclaim beauty out of destruction. The sculptures are absolutely amazing.


Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

Aren't they wonderful, Ann? I love them!


Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

Amazing, exotic, and very unexpected! This is true talent! Thanks sooo much for sharing with us, smireless! I have never seen anything like it! Bookmarking it for sure!


Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

Thank you, jjmyles! Can you believe they do this with a chain saw? Amazing!


jjmyles profile image

jjmyles 6 years ago from Pacific Northwest

Great Hub! The art created out of the dead trees is awesome~


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

Smireles,

Very creative work. It's amazing what can be done with trees that would have gone to waste.


Smireles profile image

Smireles 6 years ago from Texas Author

I thought these sculptures were awesome. I am going to investigate to see what else they have done in the city. Thanks for commenting!


UlrikeGrace profile image

UlrikeGrace 6 years ago from Canada

Wow they have done a great job on these trees....again nothing like taking a disaster and creating beauty from it...interesting hub...

UlrikeGrace

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