Hurricanes and the Moors beach
Some neighbors may have not experienced hurricanes first hand but few will forget once they have survived one. The cloying tropical air and the unearthly stillness before the storm give way to unrestrained fury, slashing rain, howling wind and salt spray hitting houses 1/4 mile from the beach. The aftermath of huge trees across the road and debris everywhere. The power outage.
As a seaside community we have had our share of storm experiences. In the years since the founding of the Moors 3 of the most destructive storms of all time have made landfall squarely upon our bit of beach.
The founders were committed to promoting social activity in the Moors and build a fairly elaborate ‘Beach Pavilion’ in the first year. It had a large porch, kitchen, bathrooms, changing rooms and a dance floor. It was meant to be the center of summer social life. There were about 20 ‘lockers’, which were small rooms for changing and storage. There was a separate locker area for the ‘nurses’ who cared for the children of the residents. They spent $13,200 on the first structure, a princely sum and nearly 40% of the cost of the original land purchase. Clearly they thought it would be there for a long time.
Nature had other ideas: There was tranquility for about 10 years, then a large unnamed hurricane in 1936 caused moderate damage, which was promptly repaired, just in time for the category 3 hurricane of 1938 which roared up Buzzard’s Bay, included wind recordings of 186 mph and completely destroyed the structure.
It was rebuilt, destroyed in a 1944 category 3 storm, rebuilt and severely damaged in 1947. It was replaced in 1952, just in time for a moderate hurricane in 1953 and completely destroyed again in Hurricane Carol in 1954.
Beaten by the elements and short on cash, Falmouth Associates gave in and built a small clubhouse on Nonquit road with a ‘shack’ much like our current one on the beach.
Even this step-down in accommodations was subject to the whims of nature. The current beach house was washed into Oyster Pond in the 1961 hurricane Donna. It was replaced on stilts and, despite that precaution again damaged in the most recent big storm, hurricane Bob in 1991.
The original beach was wide enough for the ‘pavilion’ as well as car parking which had to be moved across the road in the 1940’s. The two jetties were constructed in the late 40’s and early 50’s to try and preserve the beach and the beach house but Hurricane Donna made a folly of that effort. We have been fortunate to be able to cling to our ever-shrinking strip of beach and our proud but diminished bit of heaven at the end of Elm Road.