Southern FL The "Labor Day Hurricane," Sept 1935
Relief Ordered Out.
Soon after reports reached here of the deaths in the veterans' camp and of the distress there, the navy station at Key West radioed that a fleet of motorboats and trucks was being prepared to go to the veterans' aid. Medical supplies, food and water were to be taken. Florida emergency relief headquarters also planned to rush aid from Miami and Key West.
Gov. DAVE SHOLTZ ordered a company of national guardsmen from Miami to proceed into the lower keys area tonight. The Miami Red Cross asked for the troops to police the area to prevent looting and also to render aid to the victims.
Hurricane warnings were standing along the West Florida coast as the storm, apparently of diminished intensity, swept up the Gulf of Mexico.
A 70-mile wind was reported early tonight at Punta Gorda.
Meteorologist GORDON E. DUNN of the Jacksonville weather bureau said there was slight evidence that the storm might recurve to the north-northwest, but was definite enought to warrant a warning to the Florida west coast.
Winds of 50 to 60 miles an hour as far north as Tampa were expected during the night. Forty-five mile gales were blowing at Sarasota and Bradenton.
The veterans' camps along the keys, where the storm appareently struck its most furious blows, were established more than a year ago to provice workers for construction of the overseas highway linking the Florida mainland with Key West.
Some of the veterans encamped there were members of the bonus army which marched on Washington a few years ago.
One of the camps was the scene a few months ago of a strike among the veterans over wages and alleged unsanitary living conditions.
The little island towns of Tavernier and Whale Harbor were said to have been flattened by the storm.
Although the lower mainland in the path of the storm is sparsely settled, truck and citrus crops suffered heavily.
A stretch of the Florida East Coast Railroad below Tavernier was washed out. TED RAMSEY, a Miami newspaper man, returned from the keys area to tell of the destructive force of the storm.
RAMSEY said the winds sent solid walls of water pouring over the overseas highway leading to Key West. He was almost trapped by the water as he pushed his way by automobile into the area, he said.
Visible from the highway were houses flattened like eggshells, RAMSEY said. He said at lest 30 of the 50 houses in Tavernier were demolished, and houses along the highway had been picked up by the wind and moved.
From HOMER DE LEACH, a bakery house manager returning tonight from that section, came a description of the havoc wrought in the veterans' camp No. 1 where the deaths were reported.
The hospital building, the largest there, he said, was gone, along with the 20 or 30 other buildings. Sixty patients were reported in the hospital.
He viewed the scene from across Snake Creek.
"We met six of the veterans just standing around in the rain near the bridgehead," he said. "They had been north of the creek and knew nothing of what had occurred in the camp except for the destruction that could be seen."
The veterans were asked to return with DE LOACH, but said they would rather stay and try to get back to the camp.
Clearwater Beach residents began evacuating their homes and moving away from the waterfront.
Some moved into the Peace Memorial Recreation Hall, which the Red Cross offered.
The barometer dropped from 29.69 at 3 p. m. to 29.48 at 6 p. m. (EST). Tides were rising.
At Tarpon Springs sponge vessels returned to port early in the afternoon when the barometer began to fall. The community, located on the gulf coast, took precautions after weather bureau officials warned of possible danger.
The Galveston Daily News Texas 1935-09-04