Remembering the March 1962 Storm
The winter storm of March 6-7, 1962 pummeled the East Coast. In Atlantic City, 50 mile-per-hour winds and nine-foot tides led to flooding and damage. Flooding was so bad that during high tides, more than half of Absecon Island was completely underwater, with the bay meeting the ocean.
Three Atlantic City residents lost their lives in the storm: Clarence Brown, George Brown and Marritt Colding.
The Atlantic County Chapter of the American Red Cross set up shelters in Atlantic City at the Ohio Avenue Junior High School, All War Memorial Building, and Union Baptist Temple, where they served more than 10,000 meals following the storm and provided shelter to 6,152 people.
Destruction to homes and businesses was estimated at $10 million (1962 dollars). Eighty-five homes in Atlantic City were destroyed and 2,075 sustained damage. When a drifting barge crashed into it, Steel Pier suffered $2 million in damages; it was cut in half as a 150-foot center section washed away. The famous Water Circus portion of the Pier also washed out to sea.
Always resilient, Atlantic City was "open for business" 2 days after the storm passed, welcoming tourists and conventions that weekend. George Hamid, Jr. promised that Steel Pier would reopen by Easter 1962, which it did.
Resources in the Atlantic City Free Public Library Atlantic City Heritage Collections:
Local History Subject File – Storms – 1962
ACFPL Collection of Atlantic City Photographs – about 50 photographs
ACFPL Collection of Atlantic City Films – 1 film showing Boardwalk and buildings after the storm (see the video above)