Spring Snow History For Massachusetts

Late-season snow facts:

– According to WBZ, Boston has had snowfall of 12 inches or more after March 20th once, in 1997. More on that in a sec.  Boston has 6 instances where 6 or more inches of snow fell after March 20th. Worcester has had 12 such events.

– Spring started just before this last snowfall.

– The average date of Boston’s last snowfall is March 25th.

– The latest measurable snowfall for Boston was a half inch on May 10th, 1977. The latest we’ve had non-accumulating snow in Boston was June 10th, 1955.

This source tells me that New York and Atlanta both have the same day, in different years, for latest snowfall… April 25th.

– Most of New England had frost on August 23rd in 1816, and lake ice was seen around the Bay State into August.. This was due to the eruption of Mount Tambora in Indonesia, which gave everyone red, smoky skies and drove worldwide temperatures down. New England had her corn crop fail, and all sorts of food prices skyrocketed. June snow fell in some parts of New England. It is known as The Year Without A Summer. They had one period where it went from 95 degrees to 35 degrees in a half day.

– Three late-season snowstorms stand out in our history. One was that May 10th, 1977 one from The Farmer’s Almanac. The record is a bit later in the year for the Berkshires. The other late-season trace snow events of note in our history are the ones I was yapping about up above.

– Our second storm of note was the 1997 April Fool’s Day Blizzard. Over 25 inches of snow fell on Boston, and coastal flooding tore apart the shoreline.

– Our third late-season storm of note was a 17-21 inch blockbuster that hit Worcester and areas north on April 28th, 1987.

I was a freshman at Worcester State College for that storm, and had just picked up a girl from West Boylston High School for a date… because that’s how I rolled in 1987, playboy! We went to a movie, came out, and there were 6 inches of snow on the ground. We had an Italian dinner somewhere, and there was a foot on the ground when we came out of the restaurant.

I had only been driving for a year, and had zero savvy. We nearly hit a plow when we skidded all the way down a hill on Route 9. We also drove into a drift in some guy’s yard in Berlin, Massachusetts. It ended well… the homeowner called his sons out to shove my car from the drift, and they came out single file… and each one was bigger than the last. “Don’t worry about it, just steer” is how the father replied when I offered to make Katie drive so that I could get out and help shove the car. They literally lifted my car and threw it from the drift.

I got zero (0) play from that date, too. The only time I even got a hug as when we nearly crashed into the plow, and that may have been a case where she was trying to wrestle me into a position where the plow blade hit me first. I really can’t blame her.

Anyhow, 17 inches of snow is about as much as we get that late in the year. If you get snow on your lawn after May 10th, you just saw a regional record.



Catchy title, huh? WBZ beat me to “Four’easter.” With 4 nor’easters in less than 3 weeks, we all have plenty of headline-making practice.

Well, you know the drill by this point… a sizable nor’easter is working out the wobbles in her track in a manner that suggests a lot of bad effects for the long-suffering residents of SE Massachusetts.

Snow, rain, wind, icing, coastal flooding, power outages, tree damage, beach erosion… you know, the whole nine. It’s all on the table, at least potentially.

The storm should start early Wednesday afternoon, and it should be snowing during the evening commute. The Wednesday evening commute looks to be the worst of the bunch.

Winds will reach 50 to 60 miles an hour, and that will be bad for our already stressed out trees. Wet, heavy snow will only make it worse. If limbs start falling on power lines, we have another blackout situation.

The situation at the coast could also be ugly. The storm will strike during an astronomically high tide and will be backed by the 50 mile an hour winds from the previous paragraph. The seawalls can’t bear another Nor’easter, and things will get ugly quick if they give out. The worst high tide looks to be early Thursday morning.

Snowfall totals are tough, because there is some difficulty establishing where the rain/snow line will set up. Conventional thinking puts it on Cape Cod somewhere, perhaps at the canal, perhaps further out.

The snow started in Plymouth at 12 noon but it is not intense yet. It may not get intense until the evening.


Let’s check with the news channels to see how much snow we’re going to get.

WHDH has 6 to 10 in for the south coast in Bristol County as well as interior Plymouth County. Coastal Plymouth County has three to six in as well as the upper cape the Outer Cape has 1 to 3 inches.

WCVB gives us 4 to 8 inches for all of Plymouth and Bristol County as well as the upper Cape. The mid Cape gets two to four, the Outer Cape gets 1 to 2, as rain will make it in there apparently.

WFXT has a forecast video up as the storm begins where they decline to offer snowfall totals. Eff FOX.

WBZ calls 5 to 8 for all of Plymouth County and most of Bristol County. Western Bristol County is in the 8 to 12 range as is all of Rhode Island and part of Connecticut. The lower Cape is in the 2 to 5 zone, with the Islands in the coating to 2 inch range.

This won’t smash the coast like the other nor’easters, but it will be bad. It won’t tear down tree limbs onto power lines like other storms, but there could be power outages. We will get a lot of snow, but we won’t be in the 24 inch Blizzard of 78 range. Spring weather will be here soon.


The Irish Riviera

I grew up on Duxbury Beach, an isolated neighborhood on a peninsula stretching out into Cape Cod Bay.

Duxbury Beach, a cottage neighborhood in the 1970s, was very much unlike Duxbury Proper. As is the case with any isolated kids (during the height of the Baby Boom, my neighborhood had 3 other kids in an area of about a square mile), I was different than the kids in town.

Many people who I went to high school with thought that I was from Marshfield. Others thought that I was “spiritually” from Marshfield, as Vegas villages like Green Harbor and Brant Rock were effectively closer to my home than any Duxbury neighborhood.

People closer to the truth (myself included, for a while) thought instead of a run of “Beach People” stretching from about Quincy to the end of the Cape.

In reality, I was just a citizen of Duxbury’s very small chunk of the Irish Riviera.


Hull, courtesy of Nathan McKelvey

We’ll be talking Irish Riviera today, to get your mind all proper-like as St. Patrick’s Day draws near. We shall explore what a Riviera is, why we have so many Irish, how so many of them ended up on the South Shore and whatever else comes into my head as I bang away at Ol’ Momma Keyboard here.

Let’s start by discussing what a Riviera is. The famous one is the French Riviera/Cote d’Azur, which is France’s coastline on the Mediterranean Sea.

The Cote d’Azur is a resort area. You know how they say that the French all take August off? This is where they go. British, continental and even Russian tourists also started arriving in droves. A 1763 British author wrote of the benefits of oceanfront vacations, and by the end of the 19th century, it was the thing to do.

Originally an aristocracy thing, this newfound (coastal people were generally thought of as a sort of salty hillbilly for much of history) love of seaside resort life soon spread down to the proles.

In the United Kingdom, factories would often close for a week or two in the summer to service and repair the machines. This would loose the workers upon whatever resort areas they could afford to get to. They frequently chose the seaside… maybe get a cottage on the Isle of Wight, if it’s not too dear.

This love of seaside resorts definitely bled down to the Irish. Pale and hard-drinking, they were the perfect candidates for the brief two-month-summers of Massachusetts beach life. They just didn’t figure it out until they got to America.


Marshfield, thanks to Annaliese Sviokla!

The Irish love America, and the 33 million of them here today equal about 10.5% of the US population. There are more Irish in America than there are Irish in Ireland.

As you probably guessed, most of America’s Irish live in California, followed by places like Texas, Florida and Ohio. However, those are just population numbers. When you get to the leaders by % of Population as Irish, your leaders are New York, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts.

Massachusetts takes the title via a robust 21.2% hit of Irish in their population. That’s about double the US average. Six of the top ten Irish towns in America are in Massachusetts, and we dominate the top 20, top 30 and top 100 as well.

Milton, MA 38%
Pearl River, NY 38%
Braintree, MA 36%
Collingdale, PA 35%
Marshfield, MA 35%
Scituate, MA 35%
Gloucester City, NJ 34%
Drexel Hill, PA 34%
Pembroke, MA 34%
Weymouth, MA 33%

The numbers are sometimes in dispute, and it depends on who you ask and what your terms are.

47.5 Scituate
46.5 Braintree
45.8 Hull
45.6 Marshfield
44.9 Avon
44.9 Pembroke
44.6 Milton
44.5 Abington
44.3 Whitman
44.2 Hanover
43.4 Weymouth
43.0 Walpole
42.2 Holbrook
41.4 Duxbury
41.2 Norwell
40.8 Hanson
17.4 Boston
23.7 Massachusetts


I’m pretty sure that she’s English, but she’s posed well

Fieldston (Marshfield) and Squantum (Quincy) sort of trade the title back and forth for Most Irish Neighborhood. Squantum is about 65% Irish, but the difference between Squantum and Fieldston is small enough that the birth of a set of twins or a multiple casualty incident on a road outside of a pub may tip the balance one way or the other.

Most of these Irish started off in Boston. Catholicism was prohibited by the Puritans in Massachusetts, so the Irish were either not coming or pretending to be Scots for a lot of our history.

In the 1820s, various projects like canals, roads and railroads needed cheap labor. Irish immigration skyrocketed. The Great Hunger, where a blight killed off the potatoes which the Irish had come to depend on disproportionately, scattered the Irish like a sort of Mick Pinata.

Two million Irish arrived between 1820 and the US Civil War. They were attracted to cities, where Irish communities were springing up. They were also popular (at least as labor) in any town with a mill. The influx was only slowed by the Great Depression.

More Irish numbers:

Number of immigrants from Ireland

1820-1830 54,338       1911-1920 146,181
1831-1840 207,381     1921-1930 211,234
1841-1850 780,719     1931-1940 10,973
1851-1860 914,119     1941-1950 19,789
1861-1870 435,778     1951-1960 48,362
1871-1880 436,871     1961-1970 32,996
1881-1890 655,482     1971-1980 11,940
1891-1900 388,416     1981-1990 31,969
1901-1910 399,065     1991-2004 62,447

My favorite anti-Irish quote, used completely out of context here… “You will scarcely ever find an Irishman dabbling in counterfeit money, or breaking into houses, or swindling; but if there is any fighting to be done, he is very apt to have a hand in it.”

Boston had 35,000 Irish (about 25% of her total population) by 1850. They have banged out 3-7 kids per family ever since. They also got scattered around, as the Irish tend to do.

How did the South Shore get so Irish? Were there mills all over Marshfield and Pembroke? When did the Eyes start arriving?

Yes, we did have some mills. There were even fringe industries that attracted Irish, like Irish Mossing in Scituate. Those features brought a lot of Green to SE Massachusetts. You’d also have Irish workers who had earned enough to get out of the city, looking for a more pastoral lifestyle. This was especially true of retiring Boston cops.

After WWII, and with the prosperity following it, many Irish returning from war took the opportunity to head for the sticks. The highway system (especially Route 3, which should probably have an Irish nickname like Mick Street or Paddy Road) provided access to what was already being called the Irish Riviera.

There was yet another Irish Diaspora that grew from the busing era. Any moneyed Mick got the heck out of Dodge when the city started getting ugly. Every town on the South Shore saw their population just about double.

Think I’m lying? Here are the population figures for both 1960 and 1980 for a few South Shore towns, and I could have drawn names from a hat in this region without screwing up my statistical model that much:

Plymouth, 14K to 35K

Duxbury, 4K to 11 K

Marshfield, 6K to 21K

Scituate, 11K to 17K (Scituate reached their Paddy allotment earlier, with the Irish Moss industry)

I’m not saying that the onus of busing involved poor Irish neighborhoods, but you didn’t see a lot of people fleeing Wellesley. The South Shore filled with Irish-Am families from Dorchester, South Boston, Charlestown, Hyde Park and so forth. I spent at least one summer as a Dorchester kid living on Duxbury Beach, dating a Boston Latin girl from West Roxbury who summered in Green Harbor. That’s straight-up Irish Riviera living, player.

With many South Shore immigrants from Boston, it was just a case where buying and building up a South Shore cottage was cheaper than sending your Irish brood (save the venom, your author is as Irish as a puddle of Guinness vomit outside of Triple O’s pub) of 5 kids to private schools from K-12.

Throw in a cycle or two of reproduction, and we are where we stand today.


There is some dispute as to the borders of the Irish Riviera.

New York (Rockaway Beach), Indiana, Michigan and New Jersey all have areas known as the Irish Riviera. However, once you start counting Paddys, Massachusetts can tell all of the other states to start thinking of a new nickname.

The Irish Riviera is generally considered to be the coastal South Shore. Many use a sort of river/tributary system based on Route 3 or especially Route 3A.

Some people include the whole South Shore, as interior towns like Whitman and Pembroke also sport large Mick populations.

Some go the other way, using a Scituate/Marshfield definition. Other people stretch it on to the Cape, to the Kennedy Compound. You still have heavy Irish numbers on Cape Cod, but you should also notice that those % of Irish in a town charts I put up earlier don’t have Sandwich, Orleans or Hyannis in them.

I’d personally run the Irish Riviera from Quincy to Sagamore, after which the Cape starts importing tourists and summer people of every stripe to f*ck up the numericals. Bourne is the first town in a long run of coastal Massachusetts towns that doesn’t make it onto those % of Irish in population charts, although they are most likely in the 25-35% (Editor’s Note: 27%) range.

Besides, the Cape Cod Canal makes for an excellent natural border.


Will the Irish Riviera ever lose her unique, Irish domination of the population base?

There is some gentrification going on. Those cottages that were owned by Irish families for so long get sold now and then. Many of these people are Yuppies, looking to flip a cottage into a coastal McMansion. The Irish make for poor Yuppies.

Many of the Branns and Egans and Carrolls (and even the also-Catholic Italian families like the Leones and Palmieris) from my old neighborhood are still holding out, although the veteran Brann that I spoke to tells me that the neighborhood just ain’t the same. The Kerrigans scattered across the world, from Plymouth to Florida to Arizona to San Diego to Australia. Even that Bowden kid is shacked up with a French girl on Cape Cod.

However, it would take some Third World birth rates from other nationalities to knock, say, Scituate down from 35-45% Irish. Since the Catholics frown on birth control, they may even crank out 5 kid families for generations to come. People will still flee Boston. Irish families that grew up summering on the Riviera will move there full-time.

Other Irish families buy up neighboring Riviera houses as the kids marry off, and build little compounds. There is one corner of my old Duxbury Beach neighborhood where you could knock on 3 different doors and still get a Deehan, and tiny Ocean Road North once, in 1999, had 6 houses owned by descendants of the same branch of the Flaherty family.

In the end, we’ll end up with a thinned-out-but-still-vital Irish Riviera. You won’t beat the Mick out of this area for several generations, if ever.


Blizzard of 2018 Pics, Snow Totals And A Warning Of Storms To Come…

Some storm, huh? The Blizzard of ’18 is in the books, or at least in the aftermath stage.

We are running this website from a phone as we huddle in a Toyota for warmth. There is no power, the landscape is trending Siberian and I had to go to Rochester to get a coffee.

That doesn’t stop Cranberry County Magazine, player…

Let’s talk Blizzard, try to keep warm and you might learn something before we’re through.

I measured like this, I measured like that, I measured with the wiffle ball bat

Snowfall Totals

Bourne… 14.5

Pocasset… 5.5 (Pocasset is part of Bourne, but the mainland parts of Bourne got into the South Shore snow depth)

Falmouth… 9.2

Hyannis… 9.0

Marston Mills…. 8.0

Harwich… 8.0

Brewster… 3.5

Fall River… 18.0


Mansfield… 17.3

Dighton 16.1

Acushnet 16.0

Taunton… 15.6

New Bedford… 14.0

Dartmouth… 14.0

Westport 13.3

Attleboro 12.0

Fairhaven… 11.5

Wilmington… 31.0 (worst in Massachusetts )


Weymouth 16.5

Bridgewater 16.5

Kingston 16.0

Plymouth 15.9

Middleboro 14.9

Whitman 15.2

Brockton 14.5

Hanson 14.2

Rockland 14.5


Wareham 10.5

Hanover 12.3

Marshfield 9.0

Lakeville 11.0

Carver 10.0

Cedarville 9.0

Hingham 8.6


Power is out to over 125k or so, mostly on Cape Cod.

Plympton and Provincetown both were listed as 100% without power for much of yesterday.  Provincetown has 5876 Eversource customers… 5873 were without power at the height of the storm.

The crews are out there, busting ass. They can’t go up in a bucket to fix wires until the winds get under 30 MPH.


There may be more trouble on the way.

Talk of another nor’easter next week is making the rounds. Tuesday is the date that I am hearing.

Worse… I was hanging out with a meteorologist last night, and he told me that the European models show a monster storm coming for Massachusetts around March 25th.

Just thought that I might brighten your day some…

Here are some more pics…

Power folk out doing their best… I just got it back on in Buzzards Bay.
If you’re going to lose the tree, you might as well go all in and have it fall on the car.
Obligatory snowy field shot


Route 195 is somewhat of a guessing game…
I had to go from Cape Cod to Rochester in order to get my Funky on…
“I was out in the car getting Nice” probably has something to do with me thinking that this tree looks like a really really nice Thai stick
I got the camera out too late to fully Illustrate how snowy trees sometimes make a road very dark, even on a sunny day
The start of the Blizzard in Bourne.
I had to drive under a few wires to get to the Mo Beach Cumberland Farms, which was the only place open that was selling soda and cigarettes.
I have my “No School, All Schools” stock photo for the next millennium
Keep warm…

Forecast Upgrade: The Blizzard Of 2018


That snowstorm we spoke of yesterday? Yeah, about that…

We often temper our forecasts with “the effects of the storm are dependent upon the track.” The track seems to be aiming for blizzard conditions for part of Tuesday.

We don’t use the B Word lightly. However, it isn’t that hard to have one. You need winds over 35 MPH, which should be no problemo tomorrow. You also need snow, either of the falling variety or of the blown around type. Once the snow lowers visibility to less than a quarter-mile, you have a Blizz.

We will have that tomorrow, and I expect Blizzard Warnings to be up by the time that I finish writing this.

Let’s check out the impacts, shall we?

Power Outages… Think of how bad the power outages were in the last nor’easter. Imagine 18 inches of snow added to that? Ayup… I’d stock up on candles and firewood.

School Closings… with a blizzard raging, streets impassable and power out… No School, All Schools. Some noteworthy School Is On systems (hello, Duxbury) may hold out, but I wouldn’t bank on it. I think that Wednesday may even be in jeopardy.

Commutes… Tonight’s commute could be spotty if the storm hurries. Tuesday morning’s commute looks good if you have won the Iditarod before.  Tuesday night looks about the same, but darker. Snow, albeit not as heavy, could still be in the picture for both commutes on Wednesday.

Winds… tropical storm force winds will hit the coast. They will be NE for much of Tuesday, especially during the morning high tide. They look to be N/NW for the night tide. These winds will topple trees and empower the surf.

Coastal Flooding… we have astronomically low tides, which will limit damages. However, there should be a 2 foot storm surge and the waves should be impressive. Factor in a crumbling seawall system and what seem to be haphazard quick-fix repair jobs on those seawalls, and the potential is there for some major damage.

Snow… we save the best for last. Here are snowfall predictions from the morning news…

WBZ… 14 to 18 inches for all of eastern Massachusetts, including the Upper Cape. They said some areas around the Canal could surge past 20 inches and approach 2 feet. This puts it in Blizzard of ’78 territory. 10 to 16 inches for the rest of the state,  including the Mid and Outer Cape.

WCVB… 8 to 12 for much of EMass, with the Irish Riviera getting over a foot, with the Outer Cape getting four to eight inches, presumably from rain mixing in. Sorry for that run-on sentence.

WHDH… 14 to 18 inches for Plymouth in Bristol Counties, with the mid/outer Cape getting a 5 to 8 inch mix.

WFXT… 12 to 18 inches (isolated higher amounts, too… Shiri Spear is the only forecaster who uttered the words “two feet” ) for EMass and the Upper Cape, 6 to 12 for the mid and Outer Cape.

Unless it blows out to sea at the last minute,  this will be our last forecast update. After this, it’s all Damage Reports.

Good luck, and stay safe.


11 Days, 3 Nor’easters… This One Has Snow!

Only Bataan has had a worse March than Southern New England! That trend continues as a strong nor’easter- our third since the month started- is poised to pound Pilgrimland with a powerful and powdery punch.

The storm will arrive Monday night, and it should continue all dang day on Tuesday. There could even be some ocean effect snow during the wee hours of Wednesday.

There are some rain/snow line issues for the coast in general in Cape Cod in particular. Nobody knows if/where/when a changeover occurs with Miss Gale.

The bad news? There will be strong Northeast winds hitting the coast. Good news? They will be occurring during low astronomical tides, tides running as low as 2 feet less than last week’s storm.

Granted, those tides will be hitting a remarkably vulnerable coastline. Minor coastal flooding has the way of becoming Major very quickly if the rush-job seawall repairs undertaken in many coastal communities fail.

Tuesday morning is the high tide to worry about, as that is when the East wind will be strongest. Tuesday night’s high tide will have a North to Northwest wind which will still be dangerous for some Cape Cod coastlines.

The current thinking is that the heaviest snow will fall on Eastern Massachusetts. It should be an all-snow event for the interior, while the coastline could see rain for a while.

It has the look of a No School, All School job, as Tuesday morning should “dawn” with heavy snow and gale-force winds. That’s not really what you want to be sending little Bobby and Suzy out to wait for the bus in… unless you have to take it out a sizable life insurance policy on each of them. Those buses will be like big yellow sleds on every hill they see. Power outages are also very possible.

There is still time for several wobbles to occur in the forecast track, and they can alter the storm significantly. Check your local weather as the stotm nears. We are more of the heads-up people.


As far as the pros see snowfall totals…

WBZ… 6 to 9 inches for SE Massachusetts, 3 to 6 for Cape Cod.

WCVB… 4 to 8 inches, all snow on the Cape by Tuesday afternoon, snowing lightly all over MA for most of Wednesday.

WFXT… 6 inches for interior Plymouth/Bristol Counties, less on coast and on Cape.

WHDH… Bring Eggers said we’re getting “a couple/few inches” and didn’t say where.

NBC10/NECN…The unfortunately named Jackie Layer says 3 to 6 for Cape Cod, Plymouth and the South Coast. North of, say, Plymouth and Taunton, we are looking more 6 to 9. Jackie’s not a girl, but is always dressed in Layers.

ACCUWEATHER… please note that Accu weather was the only place that I saw the B Word used, and even then, it was merely “near-Blizzard conditions.”

We will be back with an update.


Coastal Massachusetts Storm Shots

We have a pile o’ pics from last week’s storm, so here ya go…
Both ends of Little Sandy Pond Road had trees across them last Friday night.
Duxbury scored a surplus military vehicle for flood rescues.
Never let it be said that Ocean Road North does not live up to her name
These waves eventually took down the seawall.
Duxbury storm damage that isn’t on the beach.


Seawall damage is more the result of attrition than one big wave.
The ocean can bend metal, it seems.


Duxbury got pummeled… but check the dude below out… I eventually splashed out there and woke the guy up.




Duxbury must have lost a poker game to Poseidon and then failed to pay off the bet.
Sagamore Beach sneaks into the mix..


More to come…

Duxbury and Green Harbor Seawall Damage


We hit up Duxbury Beach and Green Harbor to check the seawall damage.

Duxbury is trying very hard to cover up the disaster response. Media was not allowed down the road into the village. I say media like Media, real media, not me.


I saw Channel 5, 4, 7 and 10 parked beyond the road-blocking cop, denied access to the scene. I doubted that Cranberry County Magazine had more pull than WBZ, so I took out my National Weather Service ID as we approached the roadblock …”NEGATIVE” was my answer. We turned around, with me thinking “I am POSITIVE that we can get by this guy.” We parked at a friend’s house and hoofed it to Duxbury Beach.


FOX got through, although she was there before dawn and was smart enough not to leave.

The non-FOX media was not allowed in until the Governor needed a photo op… 4 days after the storm hit. This wasn’t a safety measure, as the media was kept out at low tide and allowed in at high tide. Work was ongoing at both times. Shady business…

Why all the security? I was able to drive down during the storm, and the town was driving reporters around in their new truck. This was before the wall collapsed, however- whole new ballgame after that……Could it be that Duxbury recently came up on the wrong end of the Who Pays For Seawall Repairs argument, and did not make the necessary repairs?
As you can see, the nor’easter took down big hunks of the neglected seawall. This is just one of several trouble spots.
You kow the storm was bad when it took trees.
…prolly from here
Not storm related, but this graffiti has been there in some form for 50 years and deserves an Internet presence.
Marshfield takes a back seat to no one in nor’easter stuff, so you know Green Harbor got damaged.
This breach is intentional.
Is it the end of the line for Duxbury’s public stsirs?
Back in 1954, these people declined an opportunity to plop a seawall in front of their property for $500.


We have a lot of shots, we will share them out over the next few days.

Duxbury Seawall Suffers Multiple Collapses

A bad situation got much, much worse in Duxbury as a series of nor’easter storm tides took down large portions of the seawall.

Now, a race against time is on, as the town scrambles to patch up the seawall before a new coastal storm goes all Johnstown Flood on the good people of Duxbury Beach.

Don’t expect federal help… President Trump, who has yet to declare Massachusetts as a disaster area, is only interested in one wall. Don’t expect Mexico to pay for the Duxbury wall, either…

This photo is from the Duxbury Fire Department, and the others are from Dan Rollins or Deborah Deady.

The seawall has been in place since 1954, when it replaced a wooden seawall put up (your author presumes) after the 1938 hurricane. You can see “TONY 9/4/54” carved into the wall near the Ocean Road North boat ramp opening. I have to ask Chrissy Carroll’s dad to find out exactly, as Duxbury’s historians care not a whit for the beach north of the bridge.

Most seawalls in Massachusetts were done before the 1950s, many in the 1930s as Great Depression busy work.

The wall was also a work of necessity, as Hurricanes Carol and Edna came in 1954.

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“They blew the horn, and the walls came down… they’d all been warned, but the walls came down…. they’d stood there laughing… they’re not laughing anymore… and the walls came down.”

The seawall is of vital importance to both the neighborhood and the town. They are the only protection Duxbury Beach gets from coastal storms.

If the wall goes, the village goes, and when the village goes, Duxbury’s tony Powder Point/King Caesar neighborhoods become the new barrier beach.

I don’t think that the people there will tolerate much of that.

The ground by the seawall used to be level with the path… now, notice how deep in the hole we find that cameraman.

“And when they’ve given you their all
Some stagger and fall, after all it’s not easy
Banging your head against some mad bugger’s wall”

The town just came out on the short end of a Who Is Responsible For Seawall Repairs dispute with the neighborhood residents. They then did next to nothing, other than piling some boulders in front of the former Gurnet Inn.

Now, they pay for that laziness with some costly emergency repairs.

When the wall collapsed yesterday, local residents got their hands on a Bobcat and tried to fix the wall themselves.

The town stepped in, ordered the work stopped, and then…. did nothing decided to formulate a plan. They piled material at the end of a street, and plan to start Tuesday at 3 AM with the front end loaders.

Keep in mind, high tide is about 2:30 PM, and the waves are still fierce. Duxbury has already dumped a piece of heavy machinery into the bay by the bridge a few years ago, but that was child’s play compared to direct ocean.

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that…. oh, never mind, nature beat you to it.”

These collapses were a shock to the experts, who recently declared the walls to be in very good shape. See here…

A storm is coming Wednesday. It won’t be like last weekend’s storm, but it will still be a nor’easter of Tropical Storm force.

That normally isn’t a problem, but “normally” involves having a seawall. Waves have great power, enough to smash four feet of concrete. Without the wall, that great power will be unleashed upon yards and- eventually- houses.

I shudder to think of what will happen.