August 28, 2011

New England Storm of '38

As Irene's far-reaching wind and rain wash over New London this morning, we naturally think of the "New England" hurricane of 1938. (Storms were unnamed in those days.) That storm left an indelible, first-hand impression on one generation, and it echoed through the next, as stories of its massive destruction became a part of family and town lore.

At the Archives we hold a collection of photographs depicting the damage and the years-long cleanup that followed. The tangled mass of uprooted trees was gradually salvaged, the logs were stored in several local ponds until they could be sawn into lumber—over a million of board feet—and stumps were pulled by the thousands.

One of the many interesting stories to follow the 1938 hurricane was that of a women's lumber camp in 1942/43 on Turkey Pond, just outside Concord, New Hampshire. Check out They Sawed Up a Storm by Sarah Shea Smith to learn more.

And here are a few images from the New London area in 1938 and later.

Cottage at Elkins (September 1938)

Logging in winter.

Logs stored in Otter Pond.
Portable saw mill.

Stacked lumber, for sale.