Remembering the Stoughton Hurricane of 1938

Looking back at a hurricane that took Stoughton residents by surprise back on September 21, 1938.

Stoughton suffered with fallen trees, down telephone poles and wires, damaged roofs and broken windows. Does this sound like which in August? 

Actually, I am referring to a hurricane 73-years ago which took place in Stoughton on Sept. 21, 1938.  The Hurricane of 1938 left six injured in Stoughton and many with damage to businesses and residential property. 

The hurricane struck Stoughton around 5:15 p.m. and continued on for near two and half hours. The entire town of Stoughton was for a period of several hours. 

For quite sometime Stoughton residents were isolated from the news except by battery radios or car radios. 

An interesting description of Stoughton residents reacting to the storm that night is described in the account from The Stoughton Sentinel the following day:

Through the blackness of the Square, flashlights glimmered as scores of moving figures were seen awaiting they [didn't know] while the wind roared about them, sometimes with driving spurts of rain.Above Norfolk Country Trust Company [corner of Park and Rte. 138] shone the lights from the telephone officers, the only lights in the town. 

Drug stores and restaurants used candles that bravely tried to shed some light upon the customers, some of whom were unable to eat at home because of lack of electric current. 

Others congregated in cars on the Square, listening to radios sending out SOS calls and warnings from less fortunate towns and cities nearby.  Drug stores did a lot of business in the flashlight trade and the 10-cent store remained open to sell candles. Candles, by 9 p.m., were at a premium. 

The heavy glass windows at George’s lunch on the Square were smashed by the heavy winds, and his establishment was closed, being carefully guarded.

Pearl Street, Canton Street, Porter Street, and parts of Pleasant and Seaver Streets were closed to traffic, which constantly moved through the town.

William Newman, age 15 of 449 Page Street was struck by an automobile at 5:30 p.m. during the storm. The car being operated by William Voneris, of Avon. The injuries were luckily minor resulting in injuries to his knee, elbow and forehead. 

Clem Walker of Perry Street and Tom Murphy of Atherton Street were cut by slate flying off the . 

James F. Golden of 344 Park Street was cut by falling glass in a greenhouse. Irving Janock, aged nine, son of Mr. and Mrs. Harry B. Janock of 84 Pleasant Street, was cut by shattered glass when a window broke in their home. A thirteen-year-old girl from 33 Perry Street suffered a fractured leg, hit by a falling tree.

If you have stories or pictures from the 1938 Hurricane from Stoughton please post them.  If you have a parent or grandparent who was alive at the time ask them what they remember about it.


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