Storm Wrecks Oceanfront

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Highest tide for 30 years has caused damage
to extent of many thousands of dollars to property

The Hampton Union & Rockingham County Gazette, March 5, 1931

Storm damage in the Pines section of Hampton Beach, March 1931
Storm damage in the Pines section of Hampton Beach, March 1931

Again the sea has taken its toll! Never has New Hampshire's seacoast been so devastated as by the storm and terrific tide of Wednesday morning [March 4, 1931] when mountain-high surf literally lifted cottages into the air, throwing them aside like a bunch of kindling, nothing left worth salvaging. Hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of taxable property has been destroyed by the fury of the waves before, but the storm of yesterday not only took a toll in the much buffeted White Island district but has torn the highway to an almost irreparable condition from Boar's Head through to Jenness Beach, great sections being lifted and thrown aside. Tons of rocks have been deposited on the highways, rocks weighing hundreds of pounds, logs, telephone poles, wreckage from summer and bath houses cover the highways; the sides of the highway between Little Boar's Head and the Farragut House are in perilous condition, being undermined to an alarming extent. From Boar's Head to well beyond North Shore Hotel the wall of rocks is so badly demolished that another high run of tide will sweep all before it. The marsh, a veritable sea, extends to the highway. All cottages through this section are surrounded by water.

Not only Hampton but North Hampton and Rye's shore line has suffered from this latest storm, while portions of the many banks of rocks which have long been the only protection afforded much valuable property on this New Hampshire coastline, have stood firm, holes in some places twenty feet wide have been torn and should another storm strike this section before repairs are made the sea would sweep all before it.

The tempest-tossed White Rocks district has lost a dozen or more cottages which it will cost hundreds of dollars to make safe to live in. Many of those standing have been swept by the waves and all furnishings on the lower floors demolished.

Storm damage, White Rocks Island
Storm damage, White Rocks Island

Three cottages in the White Rocks district owned by George Crocker of Amesbury, who is in Florida for the winter, were badly smashed on Dover Ave. Two cottages owned by Jere Rowe were swept from their foundations; on Exeter Ave, two cottages owned by John Valley of Manchester and one by Mary Lefebre were total losses; one owned by J.P. Sullivan of Hollis was badly damaged. Two large cottages on the waterfront, owned by Mrs. Abby Nichols of Chelsea and C.G. Alston of Salem, were undermined and are in danger of being carried away. Cottages owned by Herbert Hoyt, Jr., of Portsmouth, Mrs. Prentiss of Lowell, two owned by N.D. Heaton of Nashua, Three owned by Mrs. Garriper of Pelham, and apartment dwelling owned by John Healey of Manchester, were all badly damaged.