- The Homepage for the 75th Anniversary of the 1935 Hurricane -
By Jerry Wilkinson

        We are beginning our preparation to recognize a natural disaster event that happened which influences our lives even today, and one that could repeat itself - hopefully not. My meaning of ‘commemorate’ is to honor the ‘memory of’ and not the event itself. I believe we can honor those who died and those who labor to educate and minimize future catastrophes. We cannot eliminate hurricanes. I do wish to pay tribute to the efforts of the World War One veterans and families who worked and died  in the Florida Keys - See item numbers 6 and 7 in the list below.
    The Great labor Day Hurricane of 1935 was 75 years ago September 2, 1935, and its protégé, Hurricane Donna, was 50 years ago September 10, 1960. For all practical purposes all from Duck Key (MM-65) northwards to Tavernier Creek (MM-91) was decimated with one business structure and one residential structure surviving. Forty miles of railroad track was lost meaning Monroe County from Duck Key southwards was isolated other than water and air transportation. About 400 lost their lives and of these about 250 were WW-1 veterans - there are various sets of numbers that could be used. 
     Of the total lost the largest group was the WW-1 Veterans yet they are least recognized. I assume this is because in the Keys there are family survivors to promote their recognition. With that said, with the 2010 Memorial Day there are surviving families of the more than 250 veterans who died and those who survived who now live someplace else. Below are included all personnel lists published in the Congressional Inquiry - see below. Perhaps, many do not know that their veteran father, or grandfather - even great-grandfather, perished in this mishap. If one is simply curious I suggest you quickly skim the lists for the family name - they are listed alphabetically. Someone else will have to follow-up with the genealogy to connect the reported list to their families.
To my knowledge and as a former subscriber of 'The Torch' there maybe several surviving WW-1 veterans, but one is Frank Buckles, born 1904 in Missouri and enlisted in 1914.
       I wish to pay tribute to lessons learned with a 27 minute documentary made for PBS in the mid 1990s by Miles Productions of New York City and honor those who perished. The format is for  'windows media player' file (.wmv) so if you do not have this media player, please experiment with another media player. A full screen button is at the lower right corner of the player. My email address is at the end of this web page.
     Even though they will be introduced in the video, before clicking a quick cast to the survivors appearing: Jimmy Woods (deceased), Evanette Pinder Stone
(deceased), Delories Pinder Brothers (deceased), Janice Parker Gentry (deceased), Bernard Russell (deceased), Fay Marie Parker Murrote, Noland Parker (deceased) and Lucy Parker Schooley (deceased).
      The video is 27 minutes long and of medium resolution. Please remember the settings of my host server, your server and your computer can effect these video's.  Turn your audio on, Click below, view, click X to stop, then the green arrow to return here - enjoy:
Click Here.

       I have one more video and it is historic itself. The video clip is from a "Universal  Newsreel" that was shown at movie theaters during intermissions. The film was taken from the Coast Guard seaplane on Wednesday, September 4, 1935 while flying over the desolation caused by the hurricane. It is only 3 minutes long, long worn out by multi copying, so be ready to use the pause button. On Wednesday at daylight, Lt. Olson flew his USCG seaplane over the grounded USS Dixie, then Snake Creek on its route to Lower Matecumbe Key, Veteran's Camp 3. The seaplane later that day landed and Mr. Lyons took still photos of the wreckage in the Islamorada area. The only survivors shown are Agnes Johnson (Leo Johnson's wife) and their dog, plus Alice Cale and her children. When departing it took some survivors to Miami included the lady (Alice Cale) and her three children (Cecil, Carl and Charles) shown near the end. The video quality is poor and there is no audio, a Mr. Lyons was the photographer. This is as close to revisiting the disaster as we can get today! These are streaming videos; therefore, many control buttons do not function. For some reason this short video - smaller file size- takes longer to load. Remember the pause button:
Click Here.

To read the U.S.C.G. narrative report, Click here.
To read detailed pages about the who, what, when & where of the WW-! Veterans in the Keys, Click here.

    Below are primary links we have right now and more will be provided. Numbers (1) and (2) provide a basic understanding of any hurricane. The following two (2) links relate to Florida hurricanes, the fifth is specifically the 1935 Hurricane and the sixth (6) is the role of the WW-1 Veterans in the Keys. Line 7 take you to an index page for all the lists for the names, serial number and known status of all the veterans who were assigned work at in the Florida Keys on September 2, 1935. Line 8 presently is to links to four lengthy sworn statements made by survivors. The remaining will provide an in depth study of other "reported information." I am adding more as I prepare additional pages. Using the back arrow in the upper left portion of your computer screen will immediately return you back to the previous page. Go-to-links are placed at the end of each page for additional navigation. A link is also provided to Hurricane Donna.
- 1.  General History of Hurricanes,  Click HERE.
- 2. Anatomy of a Hurricane,  Click HERE.
- 3. Selected Statistics of all Florida Hurricanes from 1900 to 1999, Click Here.
- 4. Florida Keys Hurricanes since the 1500's,  Click HERE.
- 5. The 1935 Hurricane,   Click HERE.
- 6. The WW-1 Veterans in the Florida Keys - The Bridge That Never Was, Click Here
- 7. For the names, status and serial numbers of the WW-1 Veterans working in the Keys, Click Here..
- 8. Index/links  to survivor sworn statements, Click Here.
The following twelve web pages are supporting and/or additional reading for the 1935 Hurricane:
      (1) Four published maps of the 1935 Hurricane track, Click Here.
      (2) Map from the Miami Daily News, September 5, 1935,  Click HERE.
      (3) For Marjory Stoneman Douglas' description of the hurricane,  Click HERE.
      (4) For the published Monthly Weather Review, Click HERE.
      (5) For a War Department letter summarizing hurricane data collected in the   Keys,  Click HERE. 
      (6) For a Florida Emergency Relief Administration damage report, Click Here.
      (7) For the log of the Alligator Reef Lighthouse,  Click HERE.
      (8) For the 1935 census of the Upper Keys,  Click HERE.
      (9) For a Florida National Guard report,  Click HERE.
    (10) For portions of a U.S. Coast Guard report, Click HERE.
    (11) For the Key West Weather Bureau reports, Click HERE.
    (12) For four versions of the 1935 Hurricane path,  Click HERE.
   (13) For preview of a Vets life at Camp One: Click here.
-  For a comprehensive history tour of the 1935 Hurricane through photos, Click HERE.
-  The Florida Keys Memorial,  Click HERE.
-  Photos of Hurricane Donna, 1960  Click HERE.

Our thanks to Terry Hennessy and the team at web host http://www.terranova.net/ for their assistance and contributions. 
Go Keys History homepage, Click here.
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