From the September 10, 1954 edition of the Vineyard Gazette by Nanetta V. Madison:

Let us meander through the headlands of Martha’s Vineyard, that is the town of Gay Head, and muse on the merry and tragic moments that came out of the storm. It was early in the morning of that unforgettable day that the sea and sky appeared foreboding. Napoleon Madison of the Aquinnah Shop made his usual early morning check of stock and supplies, and being an old salt, he noted conditions augered by wind and weather, and proceeded to board windows and make things as taut as possible. Before the gale became too forceful, he was joined by his sister, Mrs. Annie B. Smalley.

There the two of them rode out the early part of the hurricane, witnessing from their position high upon the historic cliffs, the demolition of Mrs. Jose Giles stand just across the road from them. Fortunately for her, her nephew, Lewis Colby, had come earlier and gathered up her silver, but the rest of the merchandise was ruined by the storm. “Carol” was making playthings of building and barn when Luther Madison and William Vanderhoop arrived to help Mr. Madison get on the shutters and take Mrs. Smalley to her daughters’ home.

As these dauntless souls left the Aquinnah Shop, now threatening to become “Aquinnah Ship,” the fury of Carol’s breath blew over the barn at Miss Pauline Vanderhoop’s home just below them. This building had stood for nearly seventy years and had been battered by many winds of varying intensity.

At about this same instant, the gale lifted the skirts of the Stony Squaw, and away went her back porch and part of the sunroom. On the north shore, the wind toppled the TV aerials and the homes of the Frank Manning and the Walter Manning residences. The newly built bungalow belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Carol Francis lost a few shingles from its familiar blue roof. Homes along the way suffered similar losses.

Dr. and Mrs. Fry and their baby Douglas, who were spending their vacation in the David Vanderhoop camp on Sound View Acres, took refuge with Mr. and Mrs. Vanderhoop during the storm. By mid-morning, when it became apparent that there would be no facilities available for keeping food, these two families began “pooling” their resources. Neighboring homes were doing likewise.

Mrs. David Vanderhoop, who has steadfastly refused to give up her battery set despite the recent electrification of the town of Gay Head, was one of the few here who was able to keep contact with the mainland during and after the storm.

Mrs. Luther Madison and her sister in law, Mrs. Herve Vandal, were forced to take baby clothes and diapers to neighboring homes with old fashioned pumps, in order to get their daily chore of washing completed. Luther Madison proceeded to hook up his water pump with the engine on his power mower in order to restore running water in the Medicine Man’s Lodge.

The weather certainly got Lyman B. Madison’s goat. A survey of his property brought to light the fact that his goat weathervane had disappeared from its roof-top resting place.

At Black Brook, Mrs. George B. Cook took her babies’ washing to the brook the morning after Carol’s departure. Safe in its nook in the woods, little damage had been done to the house, but like all the rest, the family was inconvenienced by the lack of electrical power.

Visitors to the Lobsterville beach on the afternoon of the hurricane learned that the sea had flooded Mrs. Albert J. Saunders’ cellar, and the road to the head of Menemsha Pond was barricaded by quantities of sand swept in at high tide.

Not all of the notes on the path of this unwelcome visitor to Gay Head were amusing. A few were tragic. Luther Madison and William Vanderhoop tried in vain to rescue Mrs. Katherine Wellers car, which was resting on Harriph’s Creek bridge when the storm reached its peak. But in spite of their efforts to drag the car back, as the surf pounded this narrow place which bridges the gap cutting Gay Head from the rest of Martha’s Vineyard, when the road was swept away the waves carried the car into Menemsha Pond. Mr. Madison and Mr. Vanderhoop, failing in their efforts here, soon crossed the breach in the road on a cable, going hand over hand across treacherous, swirling water. Joined by Richard Kestenbaum, they began ferrying travelers to and fro in a skiff guided by a cable, from the time the bridge was swept out until dark.

Mrs. Theodore Howell, representative for the Red Cross at Gay Head, joined forces with those making the few days after the storm more bearable by distributing bread and milk to the families in town. Mrs. Charles Stevens dispensed food from her freezer and closet to neighbors to tide them over during this period.

When the final cadenza was being written to Hurricane Carol, this author observes that neighbors were busy being more neighborly, friends more friendly, and all joined forces as the ancestors of the Vanderhoops may have on the dikes in Holland, to hold back the angry sea.

Compiled by Hilary Wall