Bill and Sue Ewen had both been through hurricanes as kids. During Hurricane Carol in late August 1954, Sue and her family were renting a house in Barrington, R.I. The residence stood on a hill a few homes inland from the point. She watched as the seas leveled three houses that stood closer to the water. Bill saw boats wrecked all along the Hudson River, where his family lived.

The Ewens, who now own a cottage in the Camp Ground in Oak Bluffs, were renters when Hurricane Bob advanced on the Island on August 19, 1991. As the storm hissed its way into the Camp Ground, the Ewens brought out the family video camera and taped Trinity Park and around Forest Circle as the rain raced in and the trees came down. They filmed there and along the harborfront after the storm wheeled away late that afternoon.

It might have been a fateful decision. “We walked down toward Montgomery Square,” said Mr. Ewen. “We were lucky we weren’t hurt. There was still something blowing. And a piece of glass, window glass, went right by my neck. It could have been like a guillotine.”

For its Historic Movies of Martha’s Vineyard project, the Gazette presents a film clip drawn from two videotapes shot before, during and after the hurricane, which struck the Vineyard and the southeastern coast of New England 25 years ago this week. Edited by John Wilson, the tapes come from Dick Whitney, for many years a visitor to Edgartown with his family, and from Mr. and Mrs. Ewen in Oak Bluffs.

The tape that the Ewens shot in the hours following the storm shows water flooding Oak Bluffs avenue along the harborfront. Deck timbers of the Steamship Authority wharf are punched upward from the deck by the tide and sea. But the Oak Bluffs harbor was almost entirely sheltered from the gales that ripped in from the south, and looks mostly unruffled by the storm.

In Edgartown, things were different. The harbor, which includes Katama Bay, is shaped like an hourglass, and during the hurricane the seas roared over the barrier beach known as Norton Point, which normally defends the bay and harbor from the Atlantic Ocean to the south. Mr. Whitney’s tape, as well as photographs taken by Anne Vose and Dianne Durawa, offer a record of how the gale and geography conspired to carry away a summertime flotilla of yachts. Island boaters had only a day to prepare for the storm, which rose quickly and wheeled northward along the coast.

Gray and white surf surges up the channel in long breaking waves. The wind and seas swamp and capsize sloops and motorboats on their moorings. Some break free and crash into others downwind. Tangled together in bunches, and snaring more boats as wind and storm surge carry them north, they smash collectively into wharves and seawalls along the town waterfront.

Hurricane Bob was the last authentic hurricane to assault the Vineyard, and the speed with which it took shape and overran the Island came as a surprise a quarter century ago. Going by the historical and prehistorical records, it was not an especially strong storm. Yet the Whitney and Ewen vidoetapes offer dramatic moving images of the very least the Island can expect the next time a great tropical tempest comes up from the south.

The Historic Movies of Martha’s Vineyard project saves, archives and introduces old Island films to the public. Watch the collection of 17 Vineyard films presented to date.  For information about the project, or to have old Island films transferred digital files, contact (To avoid damage, please do not run old films through a projector.)