Saturday, September 15, 2018

Today. Wreath laying for ninetieth anniversary of worst hurricane to ever hit Palm Beach County.

Published recently in The Palm Beach Post was a staff report about today’s wreath laying at a mass gravesite by the mayor and commissioners of West Palm Beach.

Note the Okeechobee Hurricane — as this storm is oftentimes referred to following destruction of the original dike which kept Lake Okeechobee in check — officially struck Palm Beach County on September 16th, 1928.

Two excerpts from the Post:

The City of West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency, in partnership with the Storm of ’28 Memorial Park Coalition, will host a 90th anniversary community memorial event [emphasis added] to remember the victims who lost their lives to Florida’s Hurricane of 1928.

and. . .

     The burial site in West Palm Beach recognizes the African-American victims of the storm who were laid in a mass gravesite at 25th Street and Tamarind Avenue, and is the final resting place for 674 victims.
     The site was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2002 and a state historical marker was added in 2003 during the 75th anniversary of the hurricane.

If you wish to attend this wreath laying:
  • Date and time: TODAY (Sat., Sept. 15th) at 3:30.
  • Location: 924 25th St., West Palm Beach.
  • “[C]ommunity gathering will follow with beverages and music” according to Post staff report.
  • For more information about this historic tragedy: “1928 Lake Okeechobee Hurricane: African American Mass Grave”.

And more about this second largest loss of life from any storm in American history. . .

“But how many people have ever heard about it? I’m guessing
not many.”

September 16th, 1928: “He [Robert Hazard] has made it his life’s purpose to tell the story.” See and hear Mr. Hazard for yourself in the video below.

Below are excerpts from an article written by
Jeff Klinkenberg at the Tampa Bay Times.

To this day the 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane remains the 2nd deadliest storm in American history. No one knows for sure how many people died.

There is a mass grave in West Palm Beach for the black victims of that storm almost 90 years ago.

Click on image to enlarge:

From Wikipedia: “The cyclone remains one of three Atlantic hurricanes to strike the southern mainland of Florida with a central pressure below 940 mbar, the others being the 1926 Miami hurricane and Hurricane Andrew of 1992.”

This mass grave and memorial is located at Twenty-Fifth St. and Tamarind Ave. To read the entire article by Jeff Klinkenberg at the Tampa Bay Times, written 9 years ago and headlined “Unmarked but not unmourned, 1928 Hurricane’s victims get memorial 80 years later”, click on this link.

Here are the opening paragraphs:

WEST PALM BEACH — Robert Hazard, a gray-haired community activist of 60, hates to miss the weather report. This time of year, when something seems to be brewing in the Atlantic by the hour, he is especially vigilant.
     He has experienced a few hurricanes in his four decades in Florida, though never a bad one. But he has spoken with his elders about the Storm of 1928 — the hurricane of their nightmares. He also has communed with the spirits of the ones killed by that very hurricane. “Oh, they talk to me,” he says with a shy smile.
     You can find Robert Hazard almost every day at the one-acre lot at the corner of Tamarind and 25th streets in the black section of town. He saunters through the field in a hurricanelike counterclockwise direction, meditating about what happened.
     Like the spirits of the dead always tell him: “It was quite a hurricane.”
     The dead folks who talk to him were killed by that hurricane eight decades ago, then pitched into a hole and forgotten.
     Before a great storm named Katrina came to symbolize nature's fury and human folly, there was the Hurricane of 1928.
     “As we saw on television, Katrina was bad,” Hazard says. “The one in 1928 was probably worse. But how many people have ever heard about it? I’m guessing not many.”

“He has made it his life’s purpose to tell the story.”

About the 3-minute video below: “Remarks by Robert Hazard and Palm Beach Post reporter Eliot Kleinberg from the documentary ‘Lord, Somebody Got Drowned’ by Daniel Cheatham.” [To watch the entire 8-minute video on Vimeo click on this link.]

And in conclusion. . .

The nightmare scenario in Palm Beach County:

Herbert Hoover Dike is breached and fails. Few want to even think about this possibility just because it is so horrifying. From last June click on this link for a blog post titled, “Not for the faint of heart. You’ve been warned.”