August 17, 2015 7:00 AM EDT

Almost 15 years after a devastating hurricane wrecked Galveston, Tex. at the start of the 20th century, it almost happened all over again. On Aug. 17, 1915, another hurricane—believed to be more powerful than the one that destroyed the port city—made landfall.

This time, however, Galveston stood up to it. As recounted by Houston History magazine, the 1900 hurricane inspired Galveston’s leaders to build a seawall, which was completed in 1904 and expanded in the years that followed. It was put to the test in 1915–and passed. Though there was extensive damage, as these pictures show, the wreckage was nothing compared to the earlier storm.

These photographs, from the collection of the University of Houston, were taken by Rex Dunbar Frazier, a representative of an engineering firm that was working on repairs. Most of the pictures he took were made on Aug. 18, just one day after the storm made landfall.

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Write to Lily Rothman at lily.rothman@time.com.

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