Sunday, March 4, 2012

TIME MACHINE ... 50th Anniversary Of Vicious Coastal Storm.

(Reader-friendly viewing of newspaper archives material)


Most of us have heard about it. Some of us remember it. It was one of the worst coastal storms of the century to hit Delmarva. It wasn't a hurricane, but a damaging northeaster in early March, 1962. For certain it was the most damaging storm since the historic August, 1933 hurricane which brought widespread devastation along the Eastern Shore's coast, created the Ocean City inlet, and destroyed all of Public Landing's attractions.

The headlines in the March 7, 1962 edition of the Salisbury Times reported:


Damage Is Heavy; Ocean City Evacuation Begun

"A vicious winter storm left damage which may run into millions today along the Delmarva coast.

From Lewes, on the tip of Delaware, down through Maryland and into Virginia, low lying lands and resorts reported heavy floods of seawater."

Other front page articles were headlined: Evacuees Are Arriving In Berlin ... Worse Than Hurricane Resort Evacuees Say ... Chincoteague's 3,000 Isolated ... Fenwick Island, Beach Areas Are Isolated.

**If you'd like to see these front page articles about this historic storm just email me at and I'll send you the complete original front page of the newspaper (PDF attachment) by return email.

Two interesting articles about the storm are available online, courtesy of the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum, at the following addresses:


July, 1889

(The New York Times)

SNOW HILL, Md., July 29- A rainstorm surpassing all previous ones that have fallen this year in Worcester County began here early Thursday morning last and continued with increased fury throughout Friday. All railroad communication has been cut off since Friday in consequence of numerous wash-outs, and it will probably be several days before trains can again commence running.

Purnell's Mill, near Snow Hill, was completely swept away Friday night, together with a bridge and a large portion of a dam. With this last storm is swept away the last remnant of hope for the growing crops in Worcester. A few farmers most favorably situated will perhaps raise half an average crop of corn, while many others will raise none.

October, 1897

(The Tyrone Daily Herald- Tyrone, Pa.) 

Ocean City, Md., Oct. 26. - The storm of the last two days was the worst in the memory of the oldest inhabitant. The wind obtained the proportions of a hurricane, and the surf ran four feet deep across the beach into Sinepuxent Bay. The boardwalk south from Trimper's hotel is entirely washed away for some distance, and north from the same point is wrecked in places. The large porches of Congress Hall, Trimpers, the Eastern Shore hotel, Cropper's pavilion, Atlantic Hotel and Meyer cottage are completely wrecked. The immense fish pound of the Ocean City Fishing Company was carried out to sea. The Cambridge Hotel was nearly wrecked. A large two masted schooner was sunk in the bay against the drawbridge. The damage will reach thousands of dollars.


July, 1902

(The Daily News- Frederick, Md.)

The neighborhood of Woolford and Church Creek, Worcester County, was visited Tuesday afternoon by a severe wind, hail and rain storm. Every corn field between the two villages was cut to pieces by the hail.




Do you have a local memory to share with PPE readers.. such as a big snow storm, a favorite school teacher, a local happening, something of interest your parents or grandparents told you about? It can be just a line or two or more if you wish. Your name won't be used unless you ask that it be. Send to and watch for it on a future TIME MACHINE posting!


Anonymous said...

I remember the causeway to Chincoteague was closed because of washouts and caskets and bodies floated out of the ground in the cemeteries. In Ocean City a new inlet was cut from the ocean to the bay up around 33rd Street and had to be filled in when the storm was over.

Your friend,

Rob Clarke said...

That last article contains a misprint. Woolford and Church Creek are neighboring villages in Dorchester County, not Worcester.

tk for PPE said...

Thanks for catching the misprint Rob. Wonder if anybody called it to the newspaper's attention in 1902?