As Westporters worry about friends and relatives in Florida — and we all have them — let’s take a minute to recall that day when a thunderstorm here made national news.
No one alive remembers. It happened in June of 1837.
But it was reported in papers all across America.
For example, a story from Indiana’s Covington Western Constellation — headlined “Remarkable Effects of Lightning” — said:
During a thunderstorm at Westport, Conn. the chimney and one side of the house of Mr. Edwin Wheleer [sic] were literally [sic] torn to atoms — mirrors, chairs, piano, &c. scattered to the four winds of heaven, but out of ten persons in the room, even a young lady escaped, while the stove at which she was sitting was thrown down. A child had just been taken from a cradle which was torn to splinters. About 150 panes of glass were broken.
The paper misspelled Edwin Wheeler’s name.
But — according to alert “06880” reader and amateur local historian Mary Palmieri Gai, who found the article — the rest of his building survived.
How do we know?
Today’s it’s called Wheeler House — the handsome home of the Westport Historical Society.
Who knew there was so much history right in Historical Society headquarters?