Crystal Lake, great New England hurricane of 1938, September, 1938

  • Crystal Lake, great New England hurricane of 1938, September, 1938
  • "The Great New England Hurricane of 1938 is reported to be one of the deadliest and most destructive tropical cyclones to impact New England. The storm, estimated to have made landfall as a Category 3 hurricane on Long Island on September 21st, moved quickly through New England with the eye of the storm passing over western Massachusetts. The Blue Hill Observatory registered sustained winds of 121 mph and a peak gust of 186 mph, the strongest hurricane-related surface wind ever recorded in the United States. Most were caught unaware of the severity of the storm, due to the unusual speed of the storm and the lack of sophisticated monitoring equipment. In addition to the tens of thousands of homes that were destroyed or damaged by the storm, more than 20,000 electrical poles were toppled and an estimated two billion trees were downed in New York and New England, affecting over 35% of New England's total forest area. In Wakefield, hundreds of trees were uprooted in all areas of the Town, shingles and entire roofs were blown off buildings and homes, including the roof of the Nichols Ice House at the head of Lake Quannapowitt. Windows were blown out at several homes and buildings, including the Central Garage and Taylor Hardware Store, and chimneys were destroyed, including the newly-repaired chimney at the Methodist Church on Albion Street. The damage was so great that the church building was later condemned."
  • Image from the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department annual calendar, 2017
  • Photo courtesy of Bob Curran
  • 09-1938
  • Wakefield, Mass. : Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department


“Crystal Lake, great New England hurricane of 1938, September, 1938,” Lucius Beebe Memorial Library, Wakefield, Mass., accessed May 13, 2021,


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