Wake of '38 Commemorates the Anniversary of the Hurricane of 1938

Last Updated by Lucie Raposo on

In an annual "popular demand" commemoration for many viewers - and with deep respect and condolences to our neighbors and families in Texas, Florida, and now Puerto Rico suffering the devastating aftermath of a busy hurricane season with Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria - Rhode Island PBS encores Wake of '38 on September 21, its 79th anniversary.

In the days before the weather service began naming storms, one fast-moving storm careened up the east coast, wiping out entire New England coastal communities, and ​taking 600 lives. It is known plainly and simply as the Hurricane of 1938, but its effects were anything but plain or simple - and its scars are still visible on buildings in downtown Providence.

In 1973, WSBE (then "Channel 36" now "Rhode Island PBS") marked the 35th anniversary of the hurricane by making a documentary, using archival footage and interviews with survivors. The dramatic story won an Emmy Award for WSBE.

We proudly and respectfully present our award-winning documentary, Wake of '38, on Thursday, September 21 at 8 p.m., as well as Saturday, September 23 at noon and 11 p.m., and Sunday, September 24 at 7 p.m. on WSBE Rhode Island PBS, as part of our ongoing series Rhode Island Stories, a collection of local documentaries about the people, places, and events with a strong local connection. The film also airs on WSBE Learn on Tuesday, September 26 at 8:00 p.m., Thursday, September 28 at midnight, and Saturday, September 30 at 2 p.m.

Click here for our comprehensive 75th anniversary blog post from 2013 that includes several remarkable photos.