|The Killer Hurricane of 1926|
|Written by Paul S. George -- Special to the BT|
A view of our past from the archives of HistoryMiami
The mighty hurricane of 1926 smashed into Miami and other parts of South Florida with winds in excess of 130 miles per hour, leaving mass destruction in its wake.
The storm struck on September 17, sweeping over Miami Beach before slamming the Miami mainland just before daybreak. It caught many Miamians by surprise. Worse, a large number of people ventured outdoors as the storm’s eye passed overhead and the air was calm. When the hurricane’s powerful winds returned, many were trapped on today’s MacArthur Causeway and the SW 2nd Avenue bridge over the Miami River.
More than 100 people lost their lives and thousands were left homeless. Few parts of the Greater Miami area were spared as the storm cut a wide swath through the area.
The accompanying photograph shows the busy intersection of 12th Avenue and W. Flagler Street, in the Riverside neighborhood (today’s East Little Havana) on September 18, presumably a short time after the storm left the area.
In addition to the flooding, observe the fallen utility pole, the trees in the upper part of the photograph shorn of their leaves, and the wood-frame buildings surprisingly still standing. The people in the left-hand corner of the photograph are standing on an overhang at the second level of today’s Beramar Apartments.
Greater Miami slowly dug itself out of the devastation left by the storm. Its comeback was inhibited by the economic crisis that settled over the area with the collapse of the real estate boom earlier in 1926. The national economic depression following the collapse of the stock market in October 1929 only exacerbated the situation.
Volume 11, Issue 10, December 2013
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