Title: Interview with Carolyn Adams (June 16, 1967)
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00006738/00001
 Material Information
Title: Interview with Carolyn Adams (June 16, 1967)
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publication Date: June 16, 1967
Spatial Coverage: 12111
St. Lucie County (Fla.) -- History.
Funding: This text has been transcribed from an audio or video oral history. Digitization was funded by a gift from Caleb J. and Michele B. Grimes.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00006738
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, Department of History, University of Florida
Holding Location: This interview is part of the 'St. Lucie County' collection of interviews held by the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program of the Department of History at the University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: SL 16

Table of Contents
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
Full Text

This Oral History is copyrighted by the Interviewee
and Samuel Proctor Oral History Program on
behalf of the Board of Trustees of the University of

Copyright, 2005, University of Florida.
All rights, reserved.

This oral history may be used for research,
instruction, and private study under the provisions
of Fair Use. Fair Use is a provision of United States
Copyright Law (United States Code, Title 17, section
107) which allows limited use of copyrighted
materials under certain conditions.
Fair use limits the amount of materials that may be

For all other permissions and requests, contacat the
the University of Florida.

St. Lucie Tape #tJh /A,
Carolyn Adams
June 16, 1967
Page 1

I believe that every boy and girl in our schools ought to have a good

understanding of American history. Someone has said that wise

citizenship without a sense of history would be like trying to be a wise

navigator without a compass. I think it is a sad commentary on our

schools and colleges that some of them will allow a student to graduate

without ever having had a course in American history. People get

teaching certificates and can teach in our schools without ever having

studied American history. And that's something, really, we ought to be

thinking about as a historical society. But I'm not going to get off

on that tangent now. Now I could talk on it for a while because it's

something I feel very strongly about. I do think if our boys and girls

knew something about American history they'd grow up to be better citizens

and they would be better equipped in the future to help preserve our

precious freedoms and our wonderful American heritage. We had a billion

history students here with us tonight and I know because I had

when she was in the eighth grade and was taking U.S. history in my class.

I think the nicest thing that could happen to any teacher would be to

have a whole roomful of people like her. She has just finished her

junior year in our local high school and recently she won a third prize

in a state wide history essay contest sponsored by our Florida Historical

Society. The title of her essay was'The Great Disaster of 1928'and I

think winning third prize in the whole state of Florida is really

something to be proud of because she was competing with students not only

in her own class but in the senior classes as well)all over Florida.

When I was at the historical convention in Key West and heard her name

mentioned as one of the prize winners.I was really happy.because I feel

St. Lucie Tape 4tc /6-9

Page 2

as if she partly belongs to meanyway. She is Carolyn Adams, daughter

of Mr. and Mrs. Wade Adams of Fort Pierce. Carolyn, I'm delighted to be

able to present you with this fifteen dollar check as third prize in

our state historical contest. Carolyn never has received her copy

of her essay from the contest headquarters, but lhse brought some of

her notes tonight and -is going to read them to you if you'd like to

hear. They're a couple of pages.

C. W.: The Great Disaster of 1928: Sunday morning overcast

in considering the season of the year rather cool. The melting

which the previous day had crossed the lake dwellers and everglades

former with its had increased somewhat in intensity.

Scattering clouds drifted softly. This was

September 16 1928. It was the Last day of life for almost two thousand

people in the southeastern shores of Lake Ockeechobee. There had been

news of a hurricane ripping up Puerto Rico and killing a lot of

people but there was no danger of it hitting Florida. Lake Ockeechobee

was now over sixteen feet in elevation and by September 10 the lake

had risen three feet in thirty days. Many people were asked if they were

going to leave the lake and they answered,"No, I reckon not. Go ahead.

I'll be here when you come back." the largest town suffered

the greatest amount of property damage and lose of life. Two hotels

provided the principal haven of refuge where the people fled before the

hurricane hit. The period of lull was an hour and a half and the storm

advanced at fifteen miles per hour. The eye was twenty five miles in

diameter. The velocity of the aofshe wind is considered to have been

such that this may be rated as one of the most intense storms of this

kind. Anemometers blew away before recording more than ninety six

St. Lucie Tape Mc/64/

Page 3

miles an hour and an observer at canal point estimated a maximum velociy

to have been a hundred and fifty miles-anw hour and a hundred and sixty

miles per hour before the southeast, at ten fourty five which isfourty

five minutes after the lull. The damage that this hurricanedid is

u unbelievable. Even greater is the death. In WinteHaven a lady was

found four miles from her home and she had clung to a fragment of

her houseboat for nine and a half hours. When discovered she was unconscious

and was clad only in the waistband of her skirt. One man was carried

three and a half miles and was found two years later, He was identified

and was the last victim to be positively identified.

From day to day as the explorations were continued the enormity of the

loss of life became even more apparent. Cheap caskets and

boxes were brought in but within a few days the bodies could not be

put into boxes. Then they were loaded into trucks, covered with canvas

and carried into town, trailing slime all the way. Each town had its

own outdoor morgue. Bodies were piled into ditches resembling stacks

of wood. Corps were brought in half a dozen at a time, each secured with

a turn of rope around its neck like a ghastly bunch of grapes. A crew

of workers then played them in rows while insurance representatives attempted

to identify their policy holders, While a the return of the trucks

the bodies were heaped into huge piles, nearly all stark naked,

like great ginger cookies, eyes and tongues protruding. The skin on their

hands was sluffed off and hanging from the wrist. After the first few

days the colored and white was indistinguishable. All had lost their

skin. After the first few week due to their condition the bodies were

not buried. Now, wherever found they were liberally soaked with crude

oil and cremated. Some single, some in heaps of a dozen or even more.

St. Lucie Tape Mh/14

Page 4

One of the biggest problems to the workers were the morbid .hoWds of

curio- ity hounds. One way of getting rid of them was to make them

stand and gaze at the heap piles of bloody. They would stare for

moments in trance, then turn aside to vomit. This might have

discouraged some but there were always more who were stubborn. Due

to several reasons estimates of actual number of deaths had varied

widely. The estimate given by the U.S. Department of Commerce seems

to be the best which is between one thousand eight hundred and fifty

and two thousand. Many hurricanes have passed over Lake Ocheechobee

since the great disaster of 1928, and no doubt. many will do so again.

The few who lived through this tropical blow will always regard

hurricanes with due respect. But since the building of the Hoover

Dikelno longer do families flee for their lives when the reports are

heard and the hurricane flags are hoisted.

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