I woke early on the first day of the Storm. The weather forecast the night before was for north east winds and rain, our typical Nor’easter. I was living in Northfield at the time with my parents.
The first thing I heard on the radio was the announcement that the police had closed the White & Black Horse pikes leading into to Atlantic City due to flooding, the A. C. Expressway had not been build yet.
My Father was just pulling out of the driveway, I tried to call to him to tell him not to use those roads to go to work but I was too late. Our family owned and operated the Jefferson Hotel located on Kentucky Avenue, some 400 feet from the boardwalk.
I knew by the news reports on the radio that I needed to get moving as fast as I could to try to get to the Margate Bridge so I could get to work. I got dressed as fast as I could while all the time listing to the radio.
I drove south on Shore road, when I got to the Margate Bridge road there were several Northfield police cars blocking the road. I asked if the Longport Bridge was open, they told me that it was but would probably close soon. The water was rising and the Storm was getting worse.
Once again, I drove south on Shore road, When I got to the Longport Blvd. I saw the road was open. I started to carefully drive over the blvd. The road was awash with about 1 inch of water on the Somers Point end. I thought to myself, it looks ok. I saw another car coming from Longport; I stopped him to ask about the road and if it was passable, he replies that” you’re crazy if you try”.
I continued. At times I thought I should turn around because of the water washing across the road caused a two foot high wave on the south shoulder. I was half way across when I decided to continue. I made it to Atlantic Avenue; the road was clear at the time all the way to The Jefferson Hotel located on Kentucky Ave.
I think it is safe to say that I was the last person to get to Absecon Island on that mooring during the first high tide and the beginning of what has become to be known as THE MARCH STORM of 1962.
I was the only one that made it to work. I slept in a chair in the Hotel lobby for 3 days. We filled up with the Atlantic City Electric Company line crew and other employees. They were working to try to restore the electricity to many parts of the island.
We were the only Hotel still open. Hotels like the Traymore, Ambassador, Dennis, Shelburne and other Boardwalk Hotels, including the Haddon Hall (now Resorts Hotel and Casino) all closed due to ocean water flooding there basements where the power plants were located. It was a devastating 3 days.
It is hard to explain in words the devastation the March 1962 Storm did to our island and up and down the coast.