DISASTER IN KINGS COUNTY – THE 1927 GALE (September 25/07)

It will go down in history as “the wildest, most severe, and most disastrous that had ever occurred,” said newspaper accounts of the gale that struck the Annapolis Valley in mid-August, 1927, and devastated Kings County farms.

The storm dashed the hopes of fruitgrowers in Kings County who were expecting a bumper crop that year. A provincial newspaper reported that “the loss to the farmers of the Valley (in fruit, hay and other crops) will go well over a million dollars. Damage to the apple crop alone is estimated at 25 percent of the expected crop which would amount to approximately 300,000 barrels.”

Elsewhere in the province, along the coastline, in particular, the storm that was dubbed the 1927 Great August Gale was equally destructive. If you want to read more about what happened across the province during this hurricane, go to Google and search under August gale of 1927. One website contains reports on the storm taken from 1927 editions of Valley newspapers, one of which is the Berwick Register.

Locally, in Kentville and its immediate vicinity, the great storm disrupted road and rail traffic and flooded the eastern and western edges of the town. Newspaper clippings from The Advertiser, which I found in an old scrapbook, tell of Kentville being shut off from outside traffic by extensive flooding. Washouts along the Dominion Atlantic Railway, some 20 to 25 The Advertiser reported, temporarily suspended traffic between Kentville and Yarmouth. At least three feet of water covered the main highway leading into Kentville, the newspaper reported.

“From eight o’clock last evening, until 10 o’clock today, Kentville was cut off from communication with the rest of the outside world,” a provincial paper reported. The Advertiser’s extensive report on storm damage explained why Kentville lost touch with the surrounding countryside. Here are excerpts from this report:

“Kentville came in for its share of the flood and today the east and west sections of the town, which were submerged by the floods, present a woeful appearance. Right in the town, by the Cornwallis Bridge, the river has overflowed (Brooklyn Street) which is the lower road to the Sanatorium, so that all traffic is cut off there.” “In a few minutes, a regular river of water was flowing through the yards of the residents of Brook and Dale Streets and Canaan Avenue, East Main Street, and Crescent Avenue.” “For nearly six hours there was a stream of water over a foot deep filling the road from side to road, flowing down Canaan Avenue. Practically all the all the cellars of the houses on the ‘flat’ were filled with water.”

The Advertiser later reported that it was weeks before Kentville recovered from the flood and repaired the storm damage.

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