"The Beach Before The Devestating Hurricane Of 1938..."
More postcards of hurricane beach
These are vintage postcards of Swift's Beach showing the beach before the 1938 hurricane. As you can see there were lots of cottages and they were right on the beach. The storm surge was over 16 feet high when it hit the beach which lies directly south on Buzzards Bay.
A storm surge of 16 feet was higher than most cottages on the beach and they were converted into driftwood as the mighty tidal wave slammed into them.
Buzzards Bay acts like a funnel for hurricanes moving up the coast and with Cape Cod jutting out into the eastern Atlantic, the storm surge rises as it enters the bay.
1938 was doubly bad because it struck at high tide and without warning.
This aerial view was taken sometime after Hurricane Carol struck in 1954. Most of the beach has been wiped clean of all cottages except for a few that were built after Carol. There are wide expanses of sand because vegetation has not had a long enough time to grow back.
The card's description has an error. What it has labeled as Marion Harbor is, in reality, the Weweantic River. Marion Harbor is several miles away to the South West and is not visible on this postcard.
Where cottages once grew, a parking lot has emerged.
And more postcards of hurricane beach will show the ever-changing face of Swift's Beach.
This postcard show the beach as it looked prior to the 1938 hurricane. The Victorian house that survived all the hurricanes is in the middle of the picture. To the right at the far end of the beach are a cluster of cottages which were all swept away by the tidal surge and never rebuilt.
From the position of the rowboats, it looks like we have an East wind blowing across the beach. There is an old saying about an East wind - "Wind from the East is a terrible beast" - or something similar. Anyway, it's a quirky wind, gusty, and can knock over your Sunfish if you are not prepared. Beetle cats, however, are another story.
Notice the unique mooring technique.
A pole, sometimes a sapling or a long metal pipe, was stuck out in the water above the low tide mark. Then, a pulley was attached to the pole. A rope was threaded through the pulley and carried back to the beach. A loop was formed with the rope. Now there were two pieces of rope hanging from the pulley.
The rowboats painter was then attached to one of the lines near the beach.
The painter is the line attached to the bow of the boat for mooring.
Now, by pulling on the other side of the loop, the boat could be pulled out to the pole. This kept young children away from the rowboat and made it easy to retrieve.
Notice that one rowboat is laying over one of the mooring lines. There were so many of them that it was easy to get tangled and a great source of annoyance for some, especially those who did not own a boat and preferred to swim without having to dodge a line of moored rowboats.
And some people didn't maintain their moorings and the poles fell over and the lines got further tangled up with other boats and ropes.
It could be quite a mess.
Another view of Swifts Beach looking East. The Victorian is obscured by the large trees on the beach.
The moored rowboats are enjoying a gentle Southwest breeze blowing up from the Carolinas. The tide is about halfway out or in depending.
At the end of the beach, we see the cottages that were swept away in 1938, never to be rebuilt.
Here is a lonely rowboat stranded on the beach.
The stakes and poles used to secure the mooring from the poles out in the water are clearly visible here. They really cluttered up the beach.
Good for boaters, bad for beachcombers trying to find a place to put their beach umbrella or blanket.
This postcard was mailed on August 19, 1930. The date is on the stamp and is hard to see without a magnifying glass.
The text read:
This is my third week of vacation so far. Henry went back to work Friday night but Sat afternoon I came up here to stay with my Mother while my Father is in Nova Scotia this week. Don't you wish you were a "Lady of Leisure"?
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