The “Great Atlantic Hurricane” hit southeastern Massachusetts on September 14, 1944. It was responsible for the deaths of 390 people, including the 12 men that went down with the Vineyard Sound Lightship when it sank three miles west of Cuttyhunk Island. Winds reached 85 m.p.h. and flooding was more extensive than any storm of the previous fifty years. Schools were closed for most of the month, and full electric service was not restored until October.
The massive cleanup effort following the hurricane required assistance from the National Guard, as well as 500 German prisoners of war housed at Camp Edwards.
The Great Atlantic Hurricane is sometimes referred to as the “Forgotten Hurricane”, frequently overshadowed by the even more destructive storms of 1938 and 1954. But the story of the 1944 Hurricane is preserved in our historical photograph collections: