It was an amazing (though frightening) image–one of a lone house along the Texas coastline. This particular home was still standing though there was nothing but debris around it where other homes once stood. I saw the photo of this home after our art director Dawn Campbell sent me the following e-mail.

“I was reading about Ike damage on MSN on my lunch—check out the picture on top of this page. We should feature whatever that house was built of to be the only thing left standing.” (MSN has since taken down the link).

What a great idea! I talked to DWM’s assistant editor Penny Stacey and we vowed that one of us would look into it in the next few days. When Penny did this we found we weren’t the only curious ones. There was a whole blog about this one house and as of the posting of this blog 464 people made comments.

Click here to see the photo that made so much news!
http://www.ireport.com/blogs/ireport-blog/2008/09/18/the-last-house-standing

The comments there were more than intriguing. Here are a few:

“This home is the only type that should be allowed in storm prone areas. If you can’t afford it then you have NO, ZERO, Nada, Zilch business living there then.”

“My house is rated for Cat 3 Hurricane winds … and I live in Colorado. If people choose to live in what ultimately are very dangerous places, even if the danger is only apparent once a year or so, then they need to take some extra precautions or just don’t live there. There can always be a natural disaster that can go beyond all precautions of course, but you should do what you can. The technology exists to make homes safer (see picture) and no one should wait for legislation or laws to make sure they get it.”

“Fascinating photo! However, as others have intimated, depending on how high the storm surge got and its penetration of the interior, this house might still be a total loss. Even if it maintains structural integrity and is livable, the problem is one of economic viability in a neighborhood that clearly won’t recover for many years, if at all. I certainly wouldn’t choose to return to it anytime soon, if it were mine.”

“This type of construction should be mandated for everyone who builds in these areas so that responsible homebuilders don’t get burnt like this, probably having to wait for year for utilities to be available again.”

And this one was particularly interesting. I might want to hire this person as a reporter. “It would be interesting to interview the owner a year from now to see if it was worth the cost. Were their insurance premiums any lower? Was there any interior damage? Was the house pillaged and trashed by looters?”

And if you check out the other comments there you’ll see that this one photo caused dozens of people to begin discussing whether God exists.

I just thought this was interesting enough to share. I’m interested to know if anyone else had seen this photo before reading my blog. If so, please post a comment here. Also, I couldn’t help but wonder who made the doors and windows for this home. If you manufactured them, supplied them or know who might have, please e-mail me at ttaffera@glass.com.

And, for more coverage of Hurricane Ike, see the upcoming November issue of DWM magazine.

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