1926 - Wind Storm
Gale Plays Havoc with Trees, Wires And Windows, Causing Heavy Damage
Blast of Hurricane Proportions Strikes North Berkshire, Damaging Buildings and Church Spires, Snapping Off Four Trees and Carrying Down Telephone, Light and Trolley Wires - Through Toll Circuits Suffer -Snow Falls in Seventh Consecutive Month.
A terrible wind storm that approached hurricane proportions whipped into Northern Berkshire late yesterday afternoon, falling at least four trees and snapping big limbs from many others, disrupting wire communication and light and power circuits, smashing plate glass windows and causing other property damage that may reach several hundreds of dollars. To cap the climax, an inch or more of snow this morning followed last evening's driving sleet, giving April the distinction of being the seventh consecutive month in which snow has fallen.
Yesterday afternoon's howling gale, which followed a day of blow and bluster, struck this section with staggering force, slinging out several localities in which to vent its greatest strength. When the worst wind had subsided and as inventory of damage was undertaken it was found that the New England Telephone and Telegraph company had approximately 100 lines, serving from 150 to 300 stations in this city out of commission along with 150 stations in Adams and 40 in Williamstown, that the North Adams Gas Light company's circuits to Williamstown and Stamford, Vt., and to the South Church street and other local districts had been subjected to intermittent interruptions and that the Berkshire Street Railway company had suffered delays ranging up to 30 minutes, due in every case to the collapse of wires under falling limbs or the weight of sleet and ice.
Trees Blown Down
Trees were blown down on River street at the corner of North Holden, near Kemps park, on Dover street, and at the "Y" on South Church street. The tops of several more trees were torn off and limbs were twisted from dozens of others, a false window was whisked from the steeple of the First Methodist Episcopal church and was hurled into the street, plate glass windows were broken and cracked at the P. D. Powers, Inc., motor salesroom on Ashland street and the Riverside Auto park building on Holden street smashed, chimneys were blown off in several different sections and small outbuildings were uprooted. A complete list of the damage was not available this morning, but it was believed that broken windows, damaged roofs and chimneys and injured trees would be found in many other localities.
Nearby Towns Hit
While Adams appeared today to have escaped the worst force of the wind, Williamstown, where several panes of window glass were broken in the high school and new grammar school buildings, felt this gale. In Stamford, Vt., limbs were torn from several trees and lighting and phone circuits were interrupted when wires were carried down.
Clarksburg and Briggsville felt the blast, which felled a tree in the latter community. Reports from the Mohawk Trail indicated today that the wind had such velocity on the mountain top that persons could not stand against it, but no reports of serious property damage came from that locality, although it is understood that trees crashed down at several points on the mountain top without causing damage. Cheshire and Savoy both reported gales, but no damage last night.
Storm Strikes in Spots
The wind appeared to select certain sections for its worst damage. The gust struck with particular force in the vicinity of the corner of River and Holden streets, smashing the large plate glass window and cracking another and blowing out smaller panes in the Riverside Auto Park building and twisting off the huge poplar tree at the corner of River and North Holden streets, about four feet above the ground. It struck again with blasting force on the heights near Kemp's park, blowing down a tree, damaging chimneys, porches and windows and snapping off an arc light circuit, which left the eastern section of the city without street lights for part of the evening. At Dover street a tree near the residence of C. K. Millard was blown down as the wind struck it. In Briggsville another tree fell carrying down telephone and electric light wires serving Stamford, Vt., while chimneys and windows in that section were broken. South Church street also felt the effects of the twister. A pole supporting a private lighting circuit to the Richard Briggs residence was snapped off, a tree near Carey's corners fell and at the residence of W. B. Browne a small greenhouse was unroofed and one sash of glass was carried away.
Trolley Service Delayed
The Berkshire street railway company's dispatcher's wires were carried down for a distance of 300 feet near the Haskins farm below Hedge's crossing on the East Side line, while another 200 foot stretch fell near the Carpenter place on the West Side line. The trolley company experience its worst delays due to a failure of power circuits when a tree blew across its lines between Pittsfield and Great Barrington, shutting off energy from the centre Berkshire county system. At 5 o'clock the trolley company turned on its own power supply, but was subjected to delays from time to time throughout the evening which brought the total loss of time on the west side and Williamstown and Bennington, Vt., lines to about 30 minutes.
When a large limb from one tree was blown across the electric light wires running to Williamstown along the State road, the College town was left without service for a short time and frequent interruptions followed as the wind tossed branches of other trees against the lines. Beyond the interruption of lighting service and the broken panes of glass in the school buildings Williamstown escaped serious damage.
Twenty Poles Felled
In addition to the local lines in the three Northern Berkshire companies which were thrown out of order when wires broke under failing limbs or from the weight of sleet and ice, the telephone company had several toll circuits thrown out of commission. Twenty poles on the circuit from Bennington to Rutland, Vt., were twisted off, halting communication in that direction, while the circuits between this city and Bennington were also carried down and badly tangled. The through Boston-Montreal, New York-Montreal, New York-Toronto and Boston-Troy circuits were interrupted when poles fell at several points. Linemen from the local offices were kept at work until midnight last night in an effort to restore service while they were back at work this morning at 4 o'clock.
Church Spire Threatened
For a time during the worst blast shortly after 5 o'clock it was feared that the new cross recently placed on the Methodist church spire here would fall. Dozens of people on the street, whose attention was called to the steeple said that it held fast. The wooden frame work on one side of the steeple, giving a dormer window effect was torn loose by the gale and tossed into North Church street, however.
The gale nearly swept people from their feet at various points in the hill sections of the city. A. Kemp avenue woman was hurled against the side of a house as she stepped into the street and an automobile parked on Eagle street was moved several feet, while cars traveling along the Zylonite flats and one the State road between this city and Adams were almost lifted from the ground.
The driving sleet that accomplished the wind just before 6 o'clock stung the faces of pedestrians while sleet and snow and rain that continued through the evening made walking unpleasant. This morning's light snow covered the ground throughout this section, but it was believed that unless a further snowfall came it would quickly disappear.
North Adams Transcript
North Adams, Massachusetts
April 1, 1926
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