Great Storm at Providence

Collection Type

  • Art

Date

1815

GUSN

GUSN-17124

Description

Market Square, Providence, Rhode Island, flooded by the Great September Gale of 1815. Scene depicts Market Square with high water. Two ships with sailors, ships crashing into buildings, floating debris, ominous grey sky with slight patch of blue, yellowish clouds.

Details

Descriptive Terms

paintings (visual works)
oil paint (paint)
canvas
storms
Picture
Picture, History
Oil on Canvas
Storm
Picture, History

Label

"Cherished Possessions": On September 24, 1815, an unusually high tide coinciding with a powerful hurricane created a scene to remember in Providence, Rhode Island. This painting perfectly mirrors the eyewitness accounts, depicting dark skies, storm-tossed water, ships, buildings, fragments of wood and cloth, and people swept helplessly along. The storm caused extensive damage, tearing ships from their moorings, wrecking buildings, and destroying several bridges. Amazingly, only three lives were lost.
This was a scene Providence residents hoped never to witness again. One hundred and twenty-three years later, in September 1938, Providence was again hit by a powerful hurricane at the time of an exceptional high tide, with a flood level in Market Square exceeding that of the 1815 storm by nearly two feet. Bronze plaques on the Market House, which still stands in downtown Providence, record both disasters.

People and Organizations

Market Square

Associated Events

Great September Gale of 1815

Maker

Kidder, James, 1793-1837 (Artist)

Dimensions

38 1/2 x 48 3/4 (HxW) (inches)

Credit Line

Museum Purchase

Accession Number

1925.208

Date

1815 (After)

Places

Massachusetts (United States)
Rhode Island (United States)
Boston (Suffolk county, Massachusetts)
Providence (Providence county, Rhode Island)