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Branford Hurricane: 1938 and Today

A look back on mother nature's rocky relationship with Branford.

The sun was shining today and spirits were up as power was restored to Halstead Lane in Pine Orchard.

We were on a quest to find 26* Halstead, the former residence of the Mills family. Chris Mills a resident of Philadelphia, PA, e-mailed Branford Patch after the storm asking how his old neighborhood had stood up?

Later Mills sent us photos of the neighborhood after the 1938 Hurricane, hoping to compare how the 2011 storm affected residents.

Traveling down Grove Street and meandering around tiny side streets, we found our way to the coast and walked along what was the sea wall. Broken and dangerous, this area should not be visited, even by the bravest journalists or curiosity seekers.

At the end of Crescent Bluff, the sea wall and earth below was swallowed up by the storm surge of Irene. The was comparable to the .

Walking down Halstead we met up with Jim Killelea, a 20-year resident of the street and Sue Gavejian who has lived in Pine Orchard for seven years. The neighbors said they were helping each other clean up the debris of a tree that had fallen across the street during the storm.

Both agreed it was the worst storm they had seen in their time living in the neighborhood and Killelea noted that his neighbor, an 85-year-old woman, said it was the worst storm she had ever seen since she took up residence there in the 1950s.

As we talked about the recent storm in comparison with past ones, the conversation quickly turned to the Hurricane of 1938. "It was the surge, plus the high tide, which is what happened in '38," said Killelea.

Noting her vantage point, which is a sweeping view of the water, Gavejian said watching the recent surge of Irene was like looking at "Old faithful."

As you take a stroll down not-so-happy memory lane by browsing our photo gallery, we hope that you'll consider yourself after the tropical storm caused to homes and things but left most people physically unharmed.

And though the lights appear to be coming back on, perhaps a few days without electricity will help us be more open to turning off the TV a little earlier, shutting down the laptop before the witching hour, and engage in conversation with the people we love a little more.  Be safe Branford. 

*The original story stated the address was 24 Halstead Lane, it is 26 Halstead Lane.

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