A growing collection of facts, thoughts and events from a 80-year-old man and his family, friends, and the characters that he has met along the way . . .

As Hurricane Irene approached the New Jersey coastline, I was reminded of the Nor’easter that struck the Outer Banks and then destroyed Ocean City and Margate between March 6 and 7, 1962.  This storm was not of hurricane strength and I believe maximum winds only reached 60mph; however, 30’ waves struck the coastline ripping up the boardwalk and utterly destroyed the cottages, beach houses, and mansions along Ocean Cities waterfront.  While most of these structures were made of wood in those days, many brick and stone homes were also destroyed.

As this storm approached the coast I was actually in route to Atlantic City to get my vehicle’s annual automobile inspection, but the wind was already so strong it stood my windshield wipers straight out and ripped off the rubber wiper blades, and I had to turn back.  A few days after the storm passed, I took these photographs:

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NOTE:  For some strange reason, the first 2 or 3 photographs in this slide show insist on repeating 2 or 3 times; please be patient and keep clicking on the forward arrow.  All 27 photos will then appear in sequence.

As you can see from those pictures, some of the shore homes were buried up to their roofs in sand; others were reduced to a pile of rubble, and others only had a stove or bathtub or chimney left for identification purposes.

Fortunately, Hurricane Irene spared the city this time!  Although I do not have any damage reports as of today, August 29, 2011, relatives who live just a few miles inland from Ocean City tell me the storm was not as destructive in the area as was expected.


Comments on: "OCEAN CITY NEW JERSEY WAS DESTROYED BY A STORM ON MARCH 6 & 7, 1962 . . .Fortunately Hurricane Irene Spared the City this time!" (10)

  1. carole christensen lieff said:

    wow. i was 8 when that storm hit. people in margate were driving around in little row boats. fortunately our house was stucco

    will irene be worse than the 1962 ash wednesday storm? i’m in california but my mom and sister are in margate

    we only get fires and earthquakes here. although anything is possible. in my opinion, it’s the apocalypse

    • Hello, Carole. Thank you for commenting on my story. I have just received a message from my cousin who lives in Mays Landing, about 15 or 20 miles inland from Ocean City, She tells me that everything there, and on the shore, is fine and that the storm was a lot less powerful and/or damaging than they expected. Based on other reports I have read, it would appear that Ocean City, Margate, and Atlantic City have been spared this time, and that the worst damage in NJ was a bit north of those areas. Thanks again, Ed.

  2. Mike Harlan said:

    I was there, too, in ’62. Your picts on Central Avenue are wonderful testimony to that storm. I was 17 then. Helped my Aunt and Uncle dig their place out of 57th and Asbury, long since gone, along with their ’58 T-Bird they lost to the Bay during that Nor’Easter. We thought it went somewhere near Toni Marts. I went down to OC with some high school friends from Abington High School on the north side of Philly to help shovel the aftermath of 3 feet of sand out of the first floor of my Uncle’s house. A very curious Mother Nature show: Opened the door of the first floor to find three feet of sand perfectly level and smooth with only stems of lamps and their shades sticking up undisturbed. All other furniture was underneath. We shoveled much sand. We also marveled at the toppled houses a block away on Central. Thank you for the connection. I hope all endure Irene as well as possible. And please, please, please…don’t try to fight her. Get away and let her run her course. You can replace a house. You can’t replace you.

    • Hi, Mike. Thank you for commenting on my story. I remember Tony Marts well (probably too well)! I was 24 then, and had just gotten out of the US Army. In one of those photos you will see the car I was driving; a really fast 1950 Olds Super ’88; a car that I purchased from a great aunt who bought it new in 1950. Thanks again, Ed.

  3. How about inserting the actual YEAR of your storm EARLY in your headline? A search on Ocean City and the hurricane reveals your SCREAMING, ALL CAPS headline thaht Ocean City was destroyed! As if it happened with hurricane Irene. VERY MISLEADING. Please correct your post for accuracy sake.

    • I wrote that post while Hurricane Irene was still a threat to the Jersey Shore, and several days before it actually arrived at Ocean City as a warning, and as an encouragement to get people to evacuate. However, now that the storm has passed your point is well made and I will adjust the headline accordingly.

  4. gped2-
    Great slide show! We owned the Atlantic Station @ 34th. & Asbury in OC. Salvation Army set up a distribution operation in the station. I remember riding in their panel truck to Sea Isle at low tide Sat. Night to bring in supplies. No lights & the road from the Parkway to Sea Isle was mostly gone. It was surreal. Would you have any pics of 34th. & Asbury?
    Red Ryder

    • Thank you for your kind compliments. All of the photos I saved have been posted in that slide show, so the answer to your question is no. But thanks again. Ed

  5. Lou Rieffel said:

    These are great pictures, thanks for sharing. My boat was stored in the garage of one of the houses in your pictures. Our home was at 42nd street. From what I can remember most of your pictures were from south of the 4300 block. My Dad hired an airplane to fly down and take pictures. I remember waiting for him to return and then going into the darkroom as he developed the pictures to see if our home was still there. It was. Coast guard called and found my boat back by the railroad tracks. Some very nice and caring person stole everything out of it and just left the shell. I have 8mm motion pictures of it all. Was in Mrs. Biddle’s house at 42nd and central. Great ocean view from the front door! Our house and property were covered with sand. I think that all we did all summer was remove sand. The hardest part was getting the sand out from under the house.
    Got all my gas from that Atlantic station that Red Ryder owned. I had the 51 green MG TD, red grill that some people remember. Was repaired often at the Atlantic station.
    Thanks again.

    • Ken Norton said:

      Mr. Rieffel,
      Just came across this the other day. My dad had your boat in his garage. Hal Norton 4144 Central Ave.on the corner. I slightly remember the Biddles house, 42nd and the beach, I think they had a inground pool. Was it Admiral Biddle? I think your place was cattycorner to the back of our house on Asbury Ave. You may remember my oldest brother Bob, and brother Jack. We rebuilt and moved down year round in 1973. It has since been sold and rebuilt. Thanks for sharing Lou.
      Ken Norton

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