Remembering Hurricane Carol
Did you witness Hurricane Carol in 1954? Tell me about it! And if you have a picture you're willing to share, that's all the better. I'd love to hear from you and I'll add what you have to say to our "Your Views" page. So if you have something to share, please:
Send me email, Greg Stone
This was a real nice shock - the Providence Journal called for what I assumed was a few paragraphs in a general story about Hurricane Carol. Instead it turned out to be a story devoted to this Web site and it ran on Page 1 on the 50th anniversary of the Hurricane.
They did an excellent job and the result was a real surge of hits on the Web site and many new stories from people about their own experiences. (What I like most about this was I didn't promote the Web site to them - they discovered the web site on their own and contacted me. )if you have a problem getting to it, try here.
The 1954 Hurricane as seen through
the eyes and camera of a Barrington boy
You can flip through the main photos using the slide show above, or go through the Web site page-by-page where the accompanying text puts each photo into context.
I started this web site with one purpose in mind - make the photographs I took in Barrington, Rhode Island, during and right after Hurricane Carol in 1954, available to my family and anyone else who might be interested. As it is, they are just fading, curling memories tucked away in a box in my basement and as such might well be lost. They are not great photography. They just happen to be what a 13-year-old boy saw and snapped with a simple camera at the time.
As I look over the two Rhode Island books I have that were published shortly after the storm, I find Barrington is all but ignored in them, so who knows - these may fill a little gap. But I doubt it. I'm sure much more has been published since. (The book pictured at right was published by the Providence Journal shortly after the event. The second one, pictured below, was placed on sale Friday, September 3, 1954, by Livermore & Knight Company, who were extremely proud of how quickly they brought this book out. My own little venture here has moved at a bit slower pace ;-)
A funny thing happened on the way to posting these pictures online, however. I found myself in a dialogue with the pictures, each stimulating thoughts about storms, my life, my friends and neighbors, my motives and even my values at that time and now. So the pictures are here for you to enjoy and I've even posted some high resolution versions at Shutterfly where you can order your own quality prints made if you like.
But I've also included my own memories and thoughts, mostly on topic, but sometimes rambling - that's one of those privileges that comes with being 61 and publishing your own material without trying to meet the concerns of editors, or of pandering to publishers interested in making a buck by telling people what they want to hear and nothing more, nothing less. I hope you enjoy the writing as well, and perhaps you have some memories of the storm and Barrington you'd like to share? If so, don't hesitate to write me at firstname.lastname@example.org - and if you don't mind my sharing what you have to say online, or posting pictures you might share on this site, please tell me that too. Web sites aren't meant to sit still - they should be a living, growing dialogue among visitors.
Don't get me wrong. There's no high drama here, no brave rescues, no personal tragedies - just what it was like to experience a hurricane in relative safety, not to mention ignorance of the real threat it posed.
Please note: In the left hand column are links to a Map of Barrington, a full text search of the entire Web site, as well as to my various blogs and other material on this site. At the bottom of each page are "previous" and "next" arrows, as well as a complete table of contents. The map of Barrington opens in a new, small window, so you can access it without leaving your current page.
OH yes - this site is actually an extension of my blog, "Natural High," which is part of "Give You Joy," a site that includes several blogs and covers topics from the spiritual to the political. Feel free to roam about - perhaps there is something else here that will interest you.
And yes - any errors you find here are mine. But if the site seems unusually free of typos, misspellings, and grammatical mistakes, that's because Bren was kind enough to proof the whole thing and caught several problems before they saw the light of web! Thanks Bren! It was great you were there in 1954 to share this experience and you're still putting up with me today ;-)
Greg Stone, Westport, MA, May, 2003
ProJo does story about this Web site
This is the 50th anniversary of Hurricane Carol, so my Hurricane Carol site is drawing attention big time. It took 50 years, but the Providence Journal - the newspaper I delivered as a boy - now has published some of my pictures. See the front page story - Scott Lowe did a wonderful job - and photos here.(But you have to register - it's painless and free.) Oh, and Channel 10 out of Providence will have a special on the hurricane tonight (August 31, 2004) at 7 pm. They contacted me, but I doubt they'll use anything from the site. What's especially pleasing to me in all this is that I published the web site for the fun of it and never promoted it any where - it's simply been discovered by folks by way of Google. Meanwhile, it sure looks to me like Hurricane Frances is taking aim at Disney World - but that's a 5-day forecast which means it could really hit just about anywhere along the east coast.
I was in Barrington (August, 2003) and decided to take a harbor panorama that shows things as they are today. More and taller trees, more and larger boats, more and longer docks - but aside from that it looks the same as it did in 1954. I turned the pictures into a Quick Time Virtual Reality panorama of the harbor as it appears today. You need Quicktime and patience (long download) to view this. The photo, of course, begs the question of whether we are more or less prepared for a hurricane today and whether or not it would be more or less damaging. I suspect in the case of houses we are more prepared - but boats? I think the harbor would be a shambles.
Update - Isaac's Storm
"Isaac's Storm" is the most fascinating book I have ever read about a weather event perhaps because it is not about the event, per se, but about the entire mix of science, sociology, history, politics, humanity and the incredible hubris of the times. (For more about this book and the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, go here.)