New England Lighthouse Storm, Apr 1851
On all parts of the coast where the northeast wind could exert its force the tide rose over the wharves from one to four feet. At Provincetown, on Cape Cod, many wharves and salt mills were swept away; and in several places people left their houses, which were flooded, water being six inches deep on the lower floors in some of them.
At Boston, the water was three of four feet deep on Central and Long wharves, and the wooden stores on the latter wharf were completely inundated, as were most of the stores at the north end of the city. Many houses were abandoned on account of the flood. Cellars and tenements were filled with water, and a girl was removed from a cellar in Sea street, in which the water was up to her neck.
The lower pars of Washington street were covered to the depth of two feet, and the basement rooms on Blackstone and Franklin squares were flooded. The water also crossed the Neck near Northampton street and the city dike above the old South Boston bridge was washed away. The floor of the Eastern railroad station was under water, and around the Boston and Maine railroad depot the streets were covered to a considerable depth. The Charlestown and Chelsea bridges were so submerged that they were impassable. Rafts were constructed out of planks, boxes, etc., and navigated about the streets by men and boys, the latter enjoying the inundated. Thousands of people from the inland towns visited the scene, which was indeed worth witnessing.
Deer island in Boston harbor suffered extensively by the great tide which made a complete breach over the island, covering nearly the whole of it. The sea-wall that had been built there a few years before by the government was washed away; and three buildings were carried out to sea, one of them being the school house. The boys had a narrow escape. Tuesday night the teacher, finding his own house surrounded by water, immediately went to the boys' house, wading through water a yard deep to get there, and got up the boys, who dressed and otherwise prepared for an emergency. Around the building the water had risen to five feet in height, and about twelve o'clock the roof parted, the house being tossed about by the waves. At daylight, their situation was made known, and ox-teams came to their rescue. With great difficulty they were taken to a new building which stood on higher ground. At ten o'clock in the forenoon the two houses first named, with their contents, including all the bedding belonging to the boys' department, were carried away. The other houses on the island were left standing, but damaged, and a large wooden building at the end of the Point was blown down. Upon another small island called Pleasant beach, Isaiah Baker had a three-story public house. It was swept off it's foundations, and the sea dashed over it, breaking it in pieces. Mr. Baker's family and several boarders narrowly escaped. Several vessels also went ashore there, and a number of lives were lost.
At Salem, Derby wharf was greatly injured, and on of the stores upon it nearly ruined. Causeways and streets near the harbor, and the floors of the lead mills were flooded, and North bridge was raised a little, but not much injured. The railroad track at Collins' cove and the railroad bridge between Forrester street and Northey's point were carried away, and the sea rushed into the tunnel. Great quantities of wood and lumber were floated off the wharves, and several tan-yards were overflowed, being much damaged. Many cellars were filled with water, and several families were obliged to vacate their tenements.
At Beverly, Water street was flooded, and the sea washed overt Tuck's point. At Gloucester, a store belonging to Michael Duley was carried away, the tide being said to have been the highest there for fifty years.
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