From the time settlers first pushed into the Ohio Valley, floods were an accepted fact of life. After each flood, people shoveled the mud from their doors and set about rebuilding their towns. In 1884, the Ohio River washed away 2,000 homes. In 1913, an even worse flood swept down the river. People labeled it the âgranddaddyâ of all floods. Little did they know there was worse yet to come. In 1937, raging floodwaters inundated thousands of houses, businesses, factories, and farms in a half dozen states, drove one million people from their homes, claimed nearly 400 lives, and recorded $500 million in damages. Adding to the misery was the fact that the disaster came during the depths of the Depression, when many families were already struggling. Images of America: The Great Ohio River Flood of 1937 brings together 200 vintage images that offer readers a look at one of the darkest chapters in the regionâs history.
In the early days of 1937, the Ohio River, swollen by heavy winter rains, began rising. And rising. And rising. By the time the waters crested, the Ohio and Mississippi had climbed to record heights. Nearly four hundred people had died, while a million more had run from their homes. The deluge caused more than half a billion dollars of damage at a time when the Great Depression still battered the nation.
Timed to coincide with the flood's seventy-fifth anniversary, The Thousand-Year Flood is the first comprehensive history of one of the most destructive disasters in American history. David Welky first shows how decades of settlement put Ohio valley farms and towns at risk and how politicians and planners repeatedly ignored the dangers. Then he tells the gripping story of the river's inexorable rise: residents fled to refugee camps and higher ground, towns imposed martial law, prisoners rioted, Red Cross nurses endured terrifying conditions, and FDR dispatched thousands of relief workers. In a landscape fraught with dangersâfrom unmoored gas tanks that became floating bombs to powerful currents of filthy floodwaters that swept away whole townsâpeople hastily raised sandbag barricades, piled into overloaded rowboats, and marveled at water that stretched as far as the eye could see. In the flood's aftermath, Welky explains, New Deal reformers, utopian dreamers, and hard-pressed locals restructured not only the flood-stricken valleys, but also the nation's relationship with its waterways, changes that continue to affect life along the rivers to this day.
A striking narrative of danger and adventureâand the mix of heroism and generosity, greed and pettiness that always accompany disasterâThe Thousand-Year Flood breathes new life into a fascinating yet little-remembered American story.
Faced with a diminished market for jewelry during the Great Depression, Charlie leaves a lucrative sales career to pursue safer prospects. He decides to take ownership of the family shoe store in downtown Cincinnati near the Ohio River. When the river rises to unimaginable heights in 1937, he worries not only for himself but for his wife and six children.
The Ohio River has nurtured Jeffersonville. The city's prime location, a bend in the river before the Falls of the Ohio, fostered its development into a regional hub of transportation and commerce. From time to time, however, the river lashes out at those who inhabit its shores. The frigid waters of winter and early spring sometimes swallow the city, leaving mud, disease, and devastation in their wake. The more than two hundred images featured in Jeffersonville, Indiana tell the city's tale from the earliest days of settlement, through the boom days of the late 19th century, and on to the tragedy of the Great Flood in 1937. Those who observed the bawdy days of Jeffersonville's marriage parlors, gambling halls, and saloons called the city "Little Chicago." Those who marveled at the diversity of its religious establishments called it the "City of Churches." Citizens of Jeffersonville enjoyed its nightlife on Saturday and filled its pews on Sunday, but have never failed to work hard throughout the week.
Daytonâs history has been shaped and reshaped by its location on the banks of the Ohio River. First settled in 1848, the city grew and prospered, providing raw materials and labor for the boatbuilders across the river in Cincinnati. The fine white-sand beaches became a tourist mecca, drawing the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) reunion in 1898. Floods, pollution, and a series of locks for river navigation destroyed the beaches, but Dayton continued to thrive. The Great Flood of 1937 devastated nearly half of the town, and time rendered many of its businesses obsolete. Bowed but unbeaten, Dayton struggled to recover. In 1982, a flood wall was built to protect the town, and today the cityâs prime location along the Ohio River is a draw for redevelopment.
Handsomely done survey of the disastrous floods of 1936 and 1937 that damaged large sections of the Pennsylvania Railroad and the communities it served. The book is intended as a survey of the floods' effects on the entire Pennsy system. It includes a description of each day's events and the effect on each of the Main Line Divisions and on the other main routes and branches. With several oversized foldout pages: maps showing the areas of precipitation and amounts of rainfall over time, panoramic photos of the devastation, lists of the damaged trackage in each Division, and flood depths. Illustrated throughout with crisp black and white photos taken just after the storms. 150 pages.