Friday, June 9, 2017

Eye-witness Account of the Great Hurricane of 1926

The Great Hurricane of 1926
with a riveting eye-witness account and photos from the
 Flamingo Gardens Archives

Hurricanes are always in the news this time of year, reminding us of Hurricane Andrew’s anniversary and the need to be prepared.  There is a long history of hurricanes in South Florida, but the Great Hurricane of 1926 stands out from all others.

The disastrous Hurricane of 1926 had a profound effect on South Florida and its residents, including Flamingo Gardens' founders, Floyd L. and Jane Wray.
Hollywood, Florida, September 20, 1926
The Wrays were living in Florida for less than a year.  He was selling real estate in Hollywood.  They weathered the storm with friend D.L. Gregory who wrote the riveting eye-witness account that follows.  It describes what they were doing before, their efforts to fight the storm, and the aftermath. When the storm subsided, there were 30 sleeping in the house including neighbors whose homes were destroyed.  

As bad as it was, up north the destruction was greatly exaggerated.  The New York Times reported a thousand dead and "scores of towns razed or flooded."  A Philadelphia newspaper ran a headline: "Southeastern Florida Wiped Out."  

Wray knew there would be no real estate business for a long time to come. The storm led him to a new career in citrus.  By 1927, he had established Flamingo Groves, which was to become the Flamingo Gardens we cherish today.