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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Lewes in Sussex County, Delaware — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Blizzard of 1888

 
 
The Blizzard of 1888 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, May 14, 2009
1. The Blizzard of 1888 Marker
Inscription. Known as the “Great White Hurricane,” the Blizzard of 1888 was one of the most devastating weather events in recorded history. Affecting coastal states from Virginia to Maine, this paralyzing storm resulted in widespread death and destruction. With its large stone Breakwater providing a buffer from heavy seas, the harbor at Lewes was considered to be one of the safest on the Atlantic seaboard at the time. For the ships that sought shelter here during the blizzard, it would be the scene of an unprecedented disaster. As signs of an approaching storm increased, approximately 50 vessels had come to anchor behind the seawall by the evening of March 11, 1888. A brief calm descended just before midnight, followed quickly by rapidly growing winds and decreasing temperatures. Soon a raging storm descended upon the harbor, bearing with it “flying hail and snow that cut like a lash...and salt spray that froze into a glassy coating the instant the water touched decks, spars, or rigging.” By the morning of March 12, nearly every vessel in the harbor was sunken, sinking, or drifting powerless, crashing one upon another. Some sailors clung to the masts of ice-bound ships, where they endured the continuing effects of the storm. The crews of the Lewes and Cape Henlopen Life-Saving stations, aided by the citizens of Lewes, immediately
The Blizzard of 1888 Marker on the Lewes Life Saving Station Museum image. Click for full size.
By Richard E. Miller, May 14, 2009
2. The Blizzard of 1888 Marker on the Lewes Life Saving Station Museum
- visible next to the door with the USLSS's refrain: "Regulations say we have to go out, they say nothing about coming back."
launched efforts to save those in peril. As a result of their heroic deeds, many lucky souls were saved during the days that followed. The fact that only eight deaths were reported here was considered nothing less than miraculous for those who experienced the terrible fury of the Blizzard of 1888.
 
Erected 2008 by Delaware Public Archives. (Marker Number SC221.)
 
Location. 38° 46.686′ N, 75° 8.478′ W. Marker is in Lewes, Delaware, in Sussex County. Marker is on Shipcarpenter Road 0.1 miles north of Delaware Route 267, on the left when traveling north. Click for map. Marker is on the south corner wall of the life saving station museum which is off the service road north of the Shipscarpenter Road/DE-267 intersection. Marker is at or near this postal address: 110 Shipscarpenter Road, Lewes DE 19958, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Overfalls Lightship (a few steps from this marker); Life Saving Station (a few steps from this marker); Menhaden Fishing Industry (a few steps from this marker); Lightship Overfalls (within shouting distance of this marker); Hiram Rodney Burton House
The Blizzard of 1888 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, October 15, 2010
3. The Blizzard of 1888 Marker
"Regulations say we have to go out, they say nothing about coming back."
(about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); John Penrose Virden (about 800 feet away); Ryves Holt House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Lewes (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Lewes.
 
Also see . . .  The Great Blizzard of 1888. (Submitted on May 25, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
 
Additional keywords. Life Saving Service; U.S.L.S.S.
 
Categories. DisastersWaterways & Vessels
 
U.S. Life Saving Station, Riverside view image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, October 18, 2011
4. U.S. Life Saving Station, Riverside view
U.S. Life Saving Station image. Click for full size.
By Mike Stroud, October 18, 2011
5. U.S. Life Saving Station
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 4,046 times since then and 149 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.   3. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina.   4, 5. submitted on , by Mike Stroud of Bluffton, South Carolina. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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