From the pages of The Smyrna Times, August 23, 1933


From the pages of The Smyrna Times
August 23, 1933

Smyrna Hit by Gale and Rain

The worst gale in half a century lashed and battered the Atlantic Seaboard for more than 24 hours today, completely isolating large areas, flooding beach resorts and inland towns, ruining crops, demoralizing the population, and doing damage that is expected to mount into the millions of dollars.

In Smyrna the storm was at its worst in the afternoon and relief appeared around midnight when the wind began to diminish, and the rain slackened.

There was very little property damage but throughout the entire town, trees were either uprooted or broken in two by the hard wind. The electric light wires were torn down which left Smyrna without electric current and plunging the town in darkness by night, hindering the industries from operating. The water supply was also cut off for several hours owing to the fact that the town too is dependent on electricity to pump water. Engineer Wilson brought the gasoline engine into service to meet the emergency….

A tree fell across Commerce Street, shutting off vehicular traffic. A number of trees were blown over on the lawn of Belmont Hall, one tree falling across the highway and preventing traffic from passing for several hours, forcing a detour through Smyrna, Kenton, and Cheswold to the Boulevard.

There was very little damage done at Clayton with the exception of a number of trees being blown down on several streets.

Concern was felt for awhile over the causeway and bridge at Garrison’s Mill which probably would have been washed out had it not been for the vigilance of the State Highway Department….

Smyrna Times Late

Owing to the storm which threw the electric current out of commission, the Times is unavoidably hours late in being issued. The Smyrna Times plant is motorized and electrically equipped and absolutely dependent on electricity.

Woodland Beach Isolated by Worst Tidal Storm in Years

Woodland Beach being in the throes of a severe northeast storm this morning, the worst in years, late reports are that the tide was running in high over the bulkhead and had reached to the cottages, the water in some instances being up to the first floor.

The high wind and dashing waves have carried away the pier to the Surf House over the water and with high waves dashing over the top.

Later reports are the Surf House went too, although telephone lines are out of commission and Woodland Beach inaccessible and isolated, cannot be communicated with.

Water is reported to have covered the entire causeway with waves breaking over the whole beach front.

The raging wind has driven most of the bateaus ashore, breaking over a dozen on the pilings.

Large limbs are falling in the park and all the portable rides and concessions are suffering water damage and are imperiled by the trees on the shore.

Severe damage is also being sustained by the boats and equipment at Woodland Beach.

Manager G.H. Horner and his assistant, Warfield R. Wood, with the help of the men residents of the resort, are on the alert to give aid as fast as needed.

Business on the island is at a standstill. Cottagers and sojourners venture out as they can to watch the storm over the bay, a sight not witnessed in a lifetime….

Leipsic Marsh Flier’s Grave

The airplane which fell into the Leipsic marsh during the electric storm Saturday afternoon, and all ablaze, nose-dived into the marsh with its pilot and sank out of sight, have been found to have been that of Harold E. McMahon, age 35, a pilot for the Skyloft, Incorporated, an air transportation company of Long Island, New York.

After a short rest at Atlantic City, N.J., he had taken off for Washington, when he was caught in the storm in Delaware after he had crossed the Delaware River, piloting a Lockhead Vega Airplane.

He was near Leipsic when his plane caught fire and fell into the marsh, sinking in the mire.

Charles Davis, a farmer living near the scene of the crash, saw the plane burst into flames, heard an explosion which tore pieces of the craft apart, and then saw the whole fall.    

At first it was feared others had perished in the wreck, but it was learned McMahon was alone when he left Atlantic City….

The wreckage sank out of site, fifteen or more feet in the mire, making further efforts to reclaim it utterly futile.

What will be the strangest funeral ever conducted in the State of Delaware and the first one where the service will be held in an airplane, has been arranged to be held Friday afternoon about one o’clock, standard time, providing the weather permits, over the spot in the marsh along the Delaware Bay near Leipsic, where Harold E. McMahon of Oyster Bay, N.Y., met his death….

Personal & Social; People Who Come & Go

Miss Caroline Staats and Miss Ruth Kauffman, both members of the faculty of the Smyrna High School, have returned from a two months’ motor tour of the west, which covered 11,000 miles and took them into 22 states and the Province of Ontario, Canada. Among the special places of interest they visited were the Grand Canyon in Arizona; Yosemite, Sequoia, and Lassen Volcanic National Parks, California; Ranier National Park in Washington; Crater Lake, Oregon; Zion National Park and Great Salt Lake, Utah; Yellowstone and Grand Teton Parks in Wyoming. They also attended the National Air Races at Los Angeles, the annual skiing tournament at Estes Park, Colorado, the Old Frontier Days Rodeo at Cheyenne, Wyoming, and the World’s Fair at Chicago.

Mr and Mrs. Robert McFarlin of Wilmington moved yesterday into the property on Commerce Street owned by Miss Sarah D. Pratt. Mr. McFarlin will be manager of the new State Welfare Home and Mrs. McFarlin will be the matron at the same institution.

Mr. and Mrs. George O. Fearon of Georgetown have rented the property of B. Franklin Ennis on Market Street recently vacated by Mr. and Mrs. Edward R. Dawkins. Mr. Fearon is the treasurer of the new State Welfare Home. They will take possession of the house on Monday.

Mr. and Mrs. W.F. Cripps, who have been making their home at the Wayside Inn during the construction of the State Welfare Home, returned last week to their home in Philadelphia.

Mr. and Mrs. Paul J. Rutan of Baltimore, Md., are spending a few days with Mrs. Rutan’s father, Mr. Edward G. Walls.

Miss Marion Rothwell of near town, has returned home after spending two weeks with relatives at Suffurn, Flushing, Long Island, and Brooklyn, N.Y.

Mr. Horace Tilghman of this town, and Mrs. Anna L. Hagen of Landsdale, Pa., were quietly married last week. Mr. and Mrs. Tilghman will return to Smyrna soon to make their home.

Miss Helen Scout returned home Friday from visiting relatives at Seattle, Washington.