Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 Memorial

Photo added by Jim Pauk

Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 Memorial
Also known as:  1935 Hurricane Memorial

  • Islamorada, Monroe County, Florida, USA
    Latitude: 24.9171, Longitude: -80.636
  • 314 Memorials added (7% photographed)

The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 was a very compact storm that caused catastrophic destruction in the Florida Keys. To date, it is believed by some to be the strongest hurricane to ever strike the United States, and one of only a few to strike the US as a Category 5 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale. This hurricane is sometimes referred to as the "Storm of the Century". An estimated 423 people died as a result of the storm - an estimated 259 of them were World War I veterans, who were on a road project to build a bridge in the upper Keys. The hurricane left a path of near-complete destruction in the Upper Keys centered on what is today the village of Islamorada. Nearly every structure was demolished; bridges and railway embankments were washed away. The links—rail, road, and ferry boats—that chained the islands together were broken. Three days after the storm, corpses had swelled and split open due to the tropical heat. Public health officials ordered plain wood coffins holding the dead to be stacked and burned in several locations. There is a memorial marker on U.S. Highway 1 at mile marker
82 in Islamorada.

Monument/Crypt is Standing just east of U.S. 1 at mile marker 82 near site of Islamorada Post office

According to reports of deceased in 1935 Hurricane:

*47 Civilians and 34 Veterans cremated
*61 Civilians and 128 Veterans {Unknown} cremated
Total: 108 Civilians & 162 Veterans {Cremated}

Of the rest:
*42 Civilians and 81 Veterans known/buried
*6 Civilians and 9 Veterans sent to relatives
*7 Civilians and 7 Veterans unknown/buried
Total: 55 Civilians & 97 Veterans buried

Total: 163 Civilians & 259 Veterans =422

In addition-a US Army medical officer died in the hurricane Major Daniel C. Main-buried at Arlington National Cemetery
Photo taken March 30, 2008 Cremated remains were placed beneath this tile memorial. The Florida Keys Memorial, known locally as the "Hurricane Monument," was built to honor hundreds of local American veterans and citizens who perished in the "Great Hurricane" on Labor Day, September 2, 1935. Islamorada sustains winds of 200 miles per hour and a barometer reading of 26.35 inches for many hours on that fateful holiday. Most local buildings and the Florida East Coast Railway were destroyed by what remains the most savage hurricane on record. Hundreds of World War 1 veterans who had been camped in the Matecumbe area while working on the construction of U.S. Highway One for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) were killed. In 1937 the cremated remains of approximately 300 people were placed within the tile crypt in front of the monument. The monument is composed of native keystone, and its striking frieze depicts coconut palm trees bending before the force of hurricane winds while the waters from an angry sea lap at the bottom of their trunks. Monument construction was funded by the WPA and regional veterans' associations. Over the years the Hurricane Monument has been cared for by local veterans, hurricane survivors, and descendants of the victims.

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GPS Coordinates: 24.9171, -80.636

  • Added: 12 Dec 2005
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #2160724