Friday, January 12, 2007

9. 1937

This will be short.

The papers are running a series of articles concerning the deluge of 1937. Seventy years ago later this month, much of the Ohio Valley from beginning to end was under water, especially here on the Left Bank at Milepost 606. Louisville suffered greatly in this event that was truly catastrophic for the entire area. A great deal of what was then known as the City of Louisville, including all of downtown well beyond Broadway, as well as points east going out Main and Market streets, and blocks and blocks of the West End, was all under several inches, if not feet, of water.

As I was growing up, references were often made to "the '37 Flood." One that comes to mind is a table which is currently sitting in my mother's family room. It will always be the "table that made it through the '37 Flood" as my grandmother would say most every time the table was moved from one side of the room to the other. I am not sure if my grandparents were living in Frankfort or Louisville at the time. They had just been married the year before in the "Pastor's House on Conway Street [in Frankfort]," another recurring story in my growing-up days. Frankfort, in the S-curve of the Kentucky River, also fell victim to the '37 Flood. I am sure there will be more to write in the coming days on recollections of 1937. Part of the significance right this moment is that the weather service is calling for up to five inches of rain this weekend.

I'd rather have snow.

1 comment:

Nick Stump said...

My long-time and very close friend, Rick Bell has a new book coming out on Butler Press about the '37 flood. Rick is a Louisville native who moved back home a few years ago and now works at the Marine Hospital which is being renovated as we speak. Rick and I went to UK at the same time and worked together at Appalshop, he at the June Appal Records while I was produced Headwaters, the Appalshop TV series.

I hope you get a chance to meet Rick at some point. I suspect you two will have much in common. He's a Louisville history fanatic. Anytime I working on something with a historical perspective, I'll check with Rick first. He's saved me a ton of research time over the years with his knowledge of Kentucky history.

Have you read Annie Dillard? Soemthing about some of the work you're doing here reminds me, (in a good way) of her "Pilgrim on Tinker Creek".

The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.