60th Anniversary of the Storm of ’62 – New Digital Archive Available


The Atlantic Sands Motel after the Storm of 1962.  The Frank B. Calio Photograph Collection, The Delaware Public Archives

This week is the 60th anniversary of the Ash Wednesday Storm of 1962. Delaware Public Archives has put together a treasure trove of previously unreleased photographs.

The three-day nor’easter started on Tuesday, March 5, 1962, continued to slowly grind up the Atlantic coast on Wednesday, March 6, 1962, and moved away from Delaware on Thursday, March 7, 1962. By the time that the skies cleared and the winds calmed, the damage along Delaware’s Atlantic and Delaware Bay coasts was substantial with cost estimates of $50 million (roughly $465 million today.) The storm claimed seven lives in Delaware and a total of 40 lives along the East Coast.

This collection is comprised of more than 500 photographs from; the Delaware Public Archives General Photograph Collection; the State Highway Department of Transportation Photograph Collection; the Department of Natural Resources Photograph Collection and Private Photograph Collections; the Frank B. Calio Collection and the Harold W.T. Purnell Collection.

A highlight of this sixtieth anniversary retrospective is a newly-encoded 17-minute silent Delaware State Police silent film of aerial footage of the damage to Delaware beaches, businesses and homes. Areas shown are Bowers Beach, Slaughter Beach, Rehoboth Beach, Dewey Beach, the Indian River Inlet, Bethany Beach, Fenwick Island, Oak Orchard and Massey’s Landing in Millsboro. This new print shows the film in its entirety. Also included in the virtual exhibit are selected papers from the Governor Carvel collection including correspondence from the public and officials pertaining to the 1962 storm, a speech delivered by Governor Carvel, notes from the Governor’s secretary, and a telegram from President John F. Kennedy.

The virtual exhibit may be accessed virtually at www.Archives.Delaware.gov.