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The destruction was beyond belief. Families watched in horror as walls of water swept away homes and businesses, and men held onto saplings for their very lives while the winds howled. Buildings on Atsena Otie were swept away so completely that only cracked stone foundations remained, and the forests of red cedar that gave the islands their name and livelihood were flattened. Resulting in dozens of deaths and millions of dollars in damage, Hurricane Number 4 in 1896 changed the Cedar Keys forever and set the city on a path to the present. Historian Alvin F. Oickle, drawing on firsthand accounts and extensive archival research, tells the story of ordinary Floridians who were faced, like so many before and so many since, with nature's fury.

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