Many people who were here in 1962 remember the storm that battered the coastline 50 years ago this week. For three days the winds howled and refused to let the tide go back out. Each successive high tide built on the one preceding to raise the water level in the streets until the rising bay and ocean waters met in some locations.
Margate Mayor Michael Becker
Michael Becker was in the U.S. Army stationed in
“I lived here all my life, and we had seen nor’easters before and I am thinking, how bad could it be? Well, a few weeks later I was home on leave, and I was really shocked at some of the things I did see,” Becker said, noting that the most shocking destruction he saw was at Hackney’s Restaurant in
Longport Mayor Nick Russo
Nick Russo and his family were living on
“We were very happy that the ocean did not meet the bay near our house because so much of
“We had a basement apartment in our house that we would stay in and rent our upstairs to vacationers in the summer. We were really lucky that we did not have water in the basement and nothing was damaged from the storm.
“I do remember boats out on the streets and a lot of debris, which as kids we were always fascinated to see what the tide brought in. This time there was so much more.”
Ventnor Mayor Theresa Kelly
Theresa Kelly and her husband, Dennis, waited out the storm at their
“It was just like a pool out in the front of the apartments. You couldn’t get out,” she recalled.
Kelly grew up in
“This storm was scary. You realize when you live through something like that you are on a barrier island surrounded by water, and water will win out,” Kelly said.
She said only the hurricane of 1944 may have been worse; that was when she saw the bay and the ocean meeting on
“I understand we need beach replenishment because that’s our livelihood in this area, that’s why people come here. But the one thing I dislike about the dunes are people wanting to sit on the boardwalk and they can’t see our beautiful ocean and beach because the dunes have taken over. I would wish they could limit their height.”
Tom Hiltner was 4 years old, and his family lived on
“Our neighbors had this garden with a brick wall around it, and it was higher than anything around. I remember my father saying that garden would never flood, and after the storm we went and looked, and it was filled with water and sand.”
“I remember getting up in the morning and calling my buddy, Jim VanDuyne, to ask him if he thought we would have school that day. The schools were closed for four days. We were 11 years old, and we had a blast,” Scott Abbott said.
At the time his family was living in the Ventnor Hotel while their home was being built on
“My stepfather was a camera buff and he had a movie camera, so we went all around the city and he shot movies of the storm and the damage,” said Abbott. The film shot by his stepfather was given to Stewart Farrell, professor of Marine Geology at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and head of the
Abbott said the memory that stands out most is watching as the boardwalk at
Abbott vividly described the force of the tide coming in, hitting the beach hard and shooting back out, only to be met with another incoming wave. The sheer force of the water splintered the boardwalk right in front of their eyes, he said.
Robin Scott, Ray Scott’s Dock in
Robin Scott lives in the same
“I remember the wind and the water just kept coming. Our place was battered and beaten,” said Scott. “I put on hip waders just to walk downstairs in our den. We lost the whole end of our marina in the storm. And from where we were, we could see houses and porches float by on Beach Thorofare.”
She remembers the aftermath of the storm vividly.
“People had left, but we stayed. My dad said if we left and they closed the roads whatever we might be able to salvage would be lost because the roads would be closed and we could not get back to the house and the dock to save what we could.”
Scott said she remembered walking down
“Critters are survivors, and they will find the best place to go. For several weeks after the storm we were finding ants and the like on the second floor of our house, and my mom was very neat, and this just bothered the heck out of her,” Scott said.
Her family pitched in to repair the marina.
“I have 13 first cousins that are guys, and we had a cool family get-together and they did all the repairs.” She said it was by far the worst storm she has ever seen or ever wants to see.
Steve Woerner, lifelong
Steve Woerner was 13 and remembers people riding in a boat down the street of the 400 block of
“The water rose right up to our front door but never came in. We pretty were lucky.”
The person with probably more storm related photographs than anyone else in
Tiemann’s family owned the Greenhouse that still sits at the beach at
Lenora Karlock, president, Longport Historical Society
Lenora Karlock was living with her family in
Mimi Turner, lifelong Longport resident
Mimi Turner said her father, Capt. Jim Turner, the first chief of the Longport Beach Patrol, took his family to his parents’ home in
They returned home after four days.
Turner said Longport had a lot of damage from the storm, but their home was spared.
Kathleen Donnelly Tabasso, Longport librarian
Kathleen Donnelly Tabasso was 6 and living in Ventnor. Her father was in the military, and when the storm hit, he was called on to help with rescues.
“My dad took us over to my grandmother’s house on
Anne Pancoast, lifelong
“That was the year I graduated from Glassboro State College, and I was commuting back and forth from
Pancoast said she remembers driving back to her home after classes.
“I was driving toward the
Photos courtesy of the Margate Historical Society
Photos courtesy of the Longport Historical Society
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