On Labor day, 1935, the most powerful (Cat 5) hurricane to hit the United States ever, hit land in the Florida Keys. This hurricane demolished the coast of Florida with a 20 foot surge. The wind speed was at 185 mph. Not one building on the Florida Keys survived. During this same time, the newly appointed Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), created by Roosevelt’s New Deal, was operating in the Florida Keys. The 684 men that were working there(mostly World War I veterans) were planting trees and cleaning up the environment, and setting up one of the first state parks in the area. They had no idea what was coming for them. In those days, the hurricane warnings were very primitive, and often wrong. It was predicted that the hurricane would move on into the Gulf of Mexico, but did not. When the weather service found it had messed up, they sent a train to pick up the CCC workers, but it was too late. The train derailed somewhere south of Miami.It proved to be fatal to all of them. When all was said and done, there were 44 missing, 284 confirmed deaths, and 107 injured. Some men were sandblasted to death with clothing and skin heavily scraped from their bodies. This early sacrifice in the CCC could have been avoided if the technology of the 30’s was better. This was a great example of a sacrifice to protect nature, although a unessecary one.
- History and the Environment 10: Climate Change in the Middle Ages?
- History and the Environment 9: National Parks and Corporations.
- History and the Environment 8: The new Dustbowl
- History and the Environment 7: The first clean air regulations…….in 1306
- History and the Environment 6: “There are some places we are not meant to go.”
Clay Ouzts on History and the Environment 2…