Could everyone write one simple essay about something that once happened in Saltaire…that they saw or were a part of…and put it on one big website? Somebody should collect a lot of stories before we all forget. Otherwise it is like a line in “On The Beach” : The history of the war that now would never be written.” -(JO'H)

Friday, October 26, 2012

The March Storm

We can't figure out why everybody forgets about this storm. They spent the whole spring and half of the summer in 1962 dredging new sand onto the oceanfront from the Cove. Big ugly dredge in the cove.

click on this image to enlarge.

Note: Well, the Baums sure remember. Everyone thought their house was gong to be gone in that storm, but it held on. Here is a recollection from Victoria Baum Bjorklund:

Dear Jim—Thank you for your recollection of the March 1962 nor’easter. Visiting after that storm was pretty disturbing. Even so, we were amazed and thankful that our house was still standing, albeit with flotsam and jetsam around and under it.

My parents were forever grateful that the Village of Saltaire attorney Frank Goggins had convinced my parents not to buy the lots on top of the dunes but behind them. The dunes had been so high that our cottage “Sea Spray” did not have an ocean view from the time it was built in 1948 until the March 1962 storm, at which time “Sea Spray” became more than “water view”.

Being an engineer, my father, Peter A. Baum, wanted to evaluate the damage up and down the beach. So our family with cameras trekked quite far to look at the damage and to take pictures. I believe that my mother, Virginia White Baum, still has those pictures, many of which my father had blown up to 8 x 10 size. However bad the damage in Saltaire, I remember that the damage in Point O’ Woods, Dunewood, Lonelyville, and Fair Harbor was much worse. I recall that my father took photographs of those beachscapes too, with the houses lying on the beach or just pipes and chimneys where the houses used to be. I will see if I can find those photos at my mother’s house to share with you. . She remembered the old Ocean Promenade before it washed away in the 1938 hurricane. She thought that the damage in the 1962 storm was the worst since 1938

My mother still has wonderful memories of many, many years at Saltaire. It had been my mother’s idea to build a house in Saltaire. She is a Sammis descendent whose relatives owned the old Kismet Hotel. had been coming to Saltaire since she was a baby. Her mother and grandmother used to take her to the well house on Broadway and bring well water up in the bucket to wash the sand off of her when she was three or four years old. We have some great pictures of those scenes circa 1930.
- Victoria Baum Bjorklund


Beaver said...

Yes Jim, it is remarkable as to how few of us remember this storm. It is only the two of us that keep its memory alive each year when we reminisce about walking atop the destroyed houses the weekend after the storm. In that we both are in the twilight of our lives, when we're both dead, this noteworthy event in Fire Island history will, sadly, be forgotten.

Beaver said...

Jim -

Few, if any, remember that it was the March '62 Nor'easter that presented Fire Island with a threat more damaging than any act of nature - the figure of evil incarnate - Robert Moses - after this storm "reinvented" his long held wish to continue the Ocean Parkway from Jones Beach, down Fire Island, to the Hamptons. The controversy that ensued resulted ultimately in the creation of the Fire Island National Seashore. It also ended Bob Moses ultimare dream of paving all of Long Island, NYC and NY State in concrete.