Thursday, January 19, 2012

THE 1937 FLOOD IN LOUISVILLE



Seventy five years ago this month much of Louisville was under water. Torrential rains caused the Ohio River to rise to levels it had not reached before or since. In Louisville 175,000 people had to be evacuated to higher ground. The west side of the city was hit the hardest and that was where most people lived at that time. My grandmother told of being boated to the Highlands from their home in the west end. Many houses, businesses and hotels were never rebuilt. One whole area near Butchertown on the river is now empty and a park.

Most of Jefferson County was rural at that time, but quickly built up after the flood when people moved to the areas that were safe from flooding.
It is fascinating to see the pictures of familiar buildings under water. Of the major metropolitan areas in the country Louisville was hit the hardest.

Several events will give a in depth look at the time and impact of the Great Flood.
Historian Rick Bell author of " The Great Flood of 1937, Rising Waters, Soaring Spirits", will give one lecture at the Water Tower on River Road at 2pm on Sunday January 22 and another at 6pm Tuesday January 25 at the Filson Historical Society on South Third Street. Both Lectures are free.

Also, there will be a Photo Exhibit at the Ekstrom Library on the University of Louisville campus. And opening reception is January 26 from 5pm to 7pm and historian Robert Reid will talk at 6pm on the impact of the flood . The exhibit will run 9am to 5pm weekdays through March 9.

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