1927 August Gale

The Register, Berwick, N.S. Wednesday Evening, August 31, 1927

Valley Ravaged By Terrific Storm

A Conservative Estimate Places Fruit Crop Loss at 20 Per Cent –
Roads and Bridges Washed Out – Train Service Interrupted.

The Annapolis Valley, on Wednesday last, was swept by the most violent and destructive storm which this part of the province has experienced in the last half century, entailing a loss to orchards, fruit, vegetable and hay crops which a conservative estimate places at close to one million dollars. Damage to the apple crop alone is estimated at about twenty per cent of the expected crop, which would amount to approximately 250,000 barrels.

The storm started in the early hours of Wednesday morning, the rain falling in torrents up until about 10.30. It then held up, with the exception of light showers of rain, until 3 o’clock, when it again started to come down in torrents, keeping it up for the next five hours. At first the wind was not exceptionally strong, but about six o’clock it increased to a terrific gale. The rain was coming down so fast that within a short time the ditches and streams about town were running wild. The rainfall, as reported by Prof. Blair, Superintendent of the Experimental Station, at Kentville, was 4.06 inches.

Grain crops on the majority of the farms are practically ruined, while the same applies to the oat crops in many sections. Hundreds of acres of vegetables were uprooted and in many cases were completely covered in water for many hours.

In some cases, farmers lost over 50 per cent of their season’s crops.

From 20 to 25 washouts on the Dominion Atlantic Railway from Kentville to Yarmouth were reported and all railway traffic between these two points was cancelled for Thursday. The first train to get through to Berwick, since Wednesday afternoon’s express, reached here at 11.30 Friday morning.

From 8 o’clock Wednesday night until 1 o’clock, Thursday afternoon, only one wire between Halifax and Yarmouth of the Western Union Telegraph Company was working, while long distance communication over the Maritime Telephone Company had not been resumed until a later hour.

Traffic on the main highway, between Kentville and Middleton, up to Thursday noon was more or less impossible, the roads in many places being completely covered in water. Damage to the highways, it is stated, will run into many thousands of dollars. Roads are gutted out and small bridges have been swept away by the swollen brooks and rivers in every section of the Valley.

At Lakeville, a bridge 25 feet in length was carried away. The roads are strewn with debris from fallen trees and everywhere are evidence of the terrible havoc wrought by the storm.

The Cornwallis River between Berwick and Somerset, which normally is but a few feet wide overflowed its banks to such an extent that all meadow land in that vicinity was completely inundated.

At Aylesford several large trees along the main highway were blown down, endangering traffic. The Aylesford electric light service was put out of commission early in the evening.

The Walker bridge west of Kingston and the Wiswall bridge near Wilmot, both on the main highway, were reported washed out.

At Harbourville and all along the Bay Shore the storm was exceptionally severe. The Shore Road at Harbourville, which had been freshly graveled early in the season, was practically demolished, as was also the road leading to Seaside Park Hotel. The torrents running down these roads, tore regular trenches in them. The road leading from the top of Harbourville mountain to Welsford is a sorry sight and a difficult one for traffic; in some places the road surface has been washed away to a depth of at least two feet or more, leaving nothing but heaps of bare and jagged rocks projecting. All along the shore, large quantities of wreckage are being washed up with the tides.

A small brook near Harrington’s Crossing, a mile or two west of Kentville, rose to such an extent that the road was submerged in water for a distance of over 100 yards. This was on the main highway between Berwick and Kentville and a number of motor cars bound for Kentville were stalled. It is reported that in one instance the occupants of the car were taken out in a canoe.

The Register, Wednesday Evening, August 31, 1927.

Seventy-Five Vessels Not Yet Heard From

It is estimated that 75 of the schooners of the Lunenburg fishing fleet have not been heard from since last Wednesday’s gale.

Little anxiety is felt, however, since some of these must be fishing off the Grand Bank’s. These will not be heard from, under ordinary conditions, for some time yet.

Wednesday Evening, August 31, 1927

Harbourville – By – The – Sea

The terrible storm of Wednesday of last week, sure hit us just about as hard as it could, although there were no lives lost. The whole surfacing of the Shore Boulevard, accompanied by tons of earth off the mountain side, was carried down onto the flat, and what was a lovely boulevard before the storm, was a quagmire of mud. On the Hamilton Boulevard, what is known as the Curry bridge across the brook, was badly damaged, in fact part of it carried away, leaving a gap of about 15 feet before the rest of the bridge could be reached, and what was left of it was absolutely dangerous. Just as soon as morning came after the storm, F. O. Ayer and Emmerson Spicer got to work and constructed a barricade at each end of the bridge, and when night came protected same with lighted lanterns. It also carried off Curry’s private bridge leading across the brook to their orchard, and came within an ace of carrying away the Curry barn. One or two outhouses above the old Curry bridge were also carried away and never seen again.

Emmerson Spicer is probably the heaviest loser here, as his fish house, with its entire contents, such as cured fish, five or six bags of salt, five hundred feet of lumber, as well as a lot of other things, disappeared in the flood, and was a total loss. He estimates the value at one hundred dollars.

Ed. Anderson lost a lot of lumber that he was hauling to his home, also window casings, but it is understood he recovered a part of it. The Dixon motor boat had a close call right in the harbor, and was left cross-wise of the raging brook when the gale subsided. The Dixons had a dory go adrift and out of the harbor, and that was the last seen of it, except that they found her bow, with rope attached, down the bay. All communication between Harborville and Burlington was cut off, as the bridge at Turner Brook also went out. The going out of these bridges should by this time teach our highway officials a lesson. Money enough has already been spent replacing that Curry bridge after every out of the way flood to twice pay for an iron bridge, placed high enough so the flooded brook could not carry it away. Unless I am misinformed that brook runs for nearly seven miles – as the brook twists – at the bottom of a narrow valley between two banks at least seventy-five feet high. There is an enormous amount of water comes down off those sides every time it rains, and when we have a storm like the one of last week it comes in such an avalanche that no wooden bridge ever could stand it.

To the credit of the road men, it must be said that they were promptly on the job on Friday and with every available man and team were at work replacing that bridge. The automobile yard at the Park was covered with a foot of mud, and a whole section of the side hill came rushing down carrying trees and everything else with it, and buried the yard. Their driveway was also washed out clean down to the shore. Lloyd Aker was up at daylight Thursday morning, to begin work on the road leading up to the Park, and by night had it in good condition once more for cars, and is now digging out the yard in the rear of the buildings. Another great worker in repairing damages was D. Boyd Parker, who put in two good hard days work on Thursday and Friday, in getting rid of the mud and stuff that had come down the Shore Boulevard, and buried the approaches to his house and store and Post Office under a foot of mud. The bar, in the harbor, had a lot of it sliced off and carried out into the bay, so that now for the entire length of the west wharf we have a natural cradle wide enough to berth almost any size vessel that might want to lie here. Fortunately the Given Road, or what is now known as the Berwick-Harborville highway, sustained but little damage. The new work, only recently completed by Roadmaster Gould, coming into Harborville stood the "gaff" in splendid shape, once more proving that a real ditch alongside of a highway is one of the surest safeguards against "washouts." When I saw the miniature Niagara Falls shooting out from the culvert at the bottom of that ditch into the harbor off the East wharf, I thought of what would have happened to that road if the ditch had not been there.

After all is said and done politics develops conditions that, to say the least, are simply wonderful, let alone most darn foolish.

Our Liberal friends had a great meeting one day last week, at Annapolis, and of course some of our leading Liberals over here went, among them a County official and a Government official, and immediately there was a roar went up at the very idea of these men mixing in politics. Why should they not? The county official will likely be a candidate for re-election next year, and he would be one decided lunkhead if he did not keep in touch with his party and its supporters. While the other holds a Government office, is that any reason why he should be debarred from attending the political meetings of his party or taking part in its deliberations? The Government surely does not want men as officials who are behind the times, who shut themselves up in their offices, and are even afraid to read the daily papers for fear of giving offense. There is a vast difference between being an active participant in an election or at other times and simply showing his allegiance to his party. Every man has a legal right to his own opinions, political or otherwise, but a whole lot of people don’t seem to know it. Over in Waterville, not satisfied with the big job they have on their hands in making their 1928 Home-Week a success, they are working tooth and nail in trying to remove an official who is not only a veteran with a leg over in France, but who has also left a few of his immediate family under the lilies of France. I happen to know the official, and no one could ever make me believe that so quiet and unassuming a man as I know him to be could ever be a partisan in political matters or any other. Damn politics, anyway.

Well, you have had another annual Memorial Service in your town, and doubtless heartfelt addresses were made in memory of the boys who laid down their lives, and it’s all to the good, but why not some attention to the hundred of maimed, physically and mentally that we still have with us? Men whom neither we as a people, nor the government have ever done anything for. We have two over here, and one of them was called on the phone on Saturday night and urged to come over and help with the meeting. They were told that he had no means of getting to Berwick unless he walked; could not even earn enough to support himself let alone have conveniences for travelling. Many a Berwick returned man owns his own car. Did some of them volunteer to run over and take our three veterans, - mind you real veterans – who fought in the trenches until disabled for further trench duty? Nary a one. Memorial services cost darn little cash but it would take half a dollar’s worth of gas to come to Harbourville and take over a veteran. Our hearts need no memorial services to remember our dead, but the living do need us and all the influence we can exert in their behalf.

Our summer bungalow visitors have all left us for home excepting our editor, and so Harbourville is lonely and newsless.

The Harbourville-By-The-Sea column's were written by a man named E. W. Kappele, the Harbourville correspondent to the Register for many years (1910-1929 +-). Mr. Kappele, who managed the Seaside Park Hotel, was a very colourful man and wrote an interesting column :-). - P. V.