Retrospective

Writer: 
August 1, 2006
Hurricane Hazel clean up

 Duke University Archives

BEAT ARMY!" was the lead headline on the front page of the October 15, 1954, issue of The Chronicle. Stories focused on the upcoming football game and homecoming festivities planned for that weekend. But, at the last minute, an additional headline was added at the bottom of the page: "Flash! Hurricane Hazel's Here and Homecoming's Had It."

Hazel, with its winds of ninety miles per hour, remained the worst storm in memory to most people at Duke until Hurricane Fran hit Durham in 1996. Hazel uprooted more than 100 trees on campus, tore the roof off the press box at the stadium, destroyed homecoming displays, and damaged a nineteen-foot spire at the rear of the Chapel.

Campus cleanup was greatly aided by a campaign undertaken by students at the Woman's College. They organized student crews to remove debris from the grounds on East Campus and helped to reduce significantly the considerable costs of the cleanup. Even with their efforts, it was not until the fall of 1956, when the Chapel spire was replaced, that the last of Hazel's damage to campus was repaired.

— Pyatt '81 is a University Archivist.