Indianola, Texas is a ghost town located on Matagorda Bay, and was formerly the county seat of Calhoun County. In 1875, the city had a population of 5,000. But on September 15 of that year, a powerful hurricane struck, killing between 150 and 300 and almost entirely destroying the town. Indianola was rebuilt, only to be wiped out on August 19, 1886 by another intense hurricane, which was followed by a fire.
From its founding in 1846, Indianola served as a major port, and before the 1875 storm was second only to Galveston as Texas's primary port. In 1856, the port received cargoes of camels, part of the US Army Camel Corps experiment to replace horses and mules as the primary pack animal in the southwestern parts of the country.
During the American Civil War, Indianola was twice occupied by Union troops, in October 1862 and November 1863. In 1869, the world's first mechanically-refrigerated shipment of beef left Indianola for New Orleans, Louisiana.
The destruction of Indianola served as an object lesson for many residents of Galveston, a hundred miles up the Texas coast. However, their calls for a seawall to protect that city went unheeded, and Galveston nearly shared Indianola's fate when the Galveston Hurricane of 1900 struck the island.
After the 1886 storm, the county seat was moved to Port Lavaca. Today almost nothing remains of the original Indianola. Due to storm erosion, most of the site of the city is now under water. A granite marker was placed on the shore at the nearest point to the Indianola courthouse, now 300 feet (about 90 meters) away in Matagorda Bay. The site is also home to a statue of René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle.Web Sites and Links
Handbook of Texas Online: Indianola, TexasCommunity history and information.
Handbook of Texas Online: Indianola HurricanesHistory of the storms that caused the community to be abandoned.
Indianola Immigrant DatabaseDatabase sponsored by the Victoria County Genealogical Society and Victoria County Historical Commission. Includes a form for immigrant descendants to submit for inclusion in database.
Indianola or Karlshaven - Texas Ghost TownCommunity history.
Indianola's Destruction Takes One of Our FamiliesTaken from the genealogical pages of a personal site, recounts the destruction of the 1875 and the deaths of ancestors.