…the Hurricane of 1938 slammed into southern New England.
No Tweets, no IM, no text messages. To reach fellow students with news about a devastating hurricane, the Connecticut Campus (it wouldn’t add Daily to its name until 1954) put out a special edition on September 22.
Printing presses were not operating, so the editors used a hand-cranked mimeograph machine to publish the news. The 1938 hurricane was a surprise. There wasn’t a week of watching and waiting as the storm neared by Connecticut shoreline as we had with Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.
A survey of the damage conducted in the days following the hurricane by two forestry students would find 1,762 trees were either snapped off or uprooted on the campus grounds. Sherman P. Hollister, superintendent of grounds, told the Campus it might take one hundred years for the campus to regain its former beauty.
On page 65 of the 1939 Nutmeg Yearbook, a sixteen-photograph montage shows some of the damage on campus. The only caption reads: Windy Wednesday.
Decades later, Provost Albert Waugh, a faculty member in 1938, wrote in his diary:
“How the wind blew! How the rains fell! And how the hug oaks were torn out by their roots or their great trunks broken in half! Thirty-five years later we have in our back yard a great swamp maple with a long spiraling scar once and a half around its truck where the tree was twisted like a corkscrew!”
–Mark J. Roy, University Communications (retired)