The 1936 Great Flood

by Laurel | March 21st, 2012

Great Flood of 1926, the Bridge in Springfield

Great Flood of 1936, the Bridge in Springfield

On this day …

” …in 1936, the worst flood in the state’s recorded history inundated the city of Springfield. An unusually cold and snowy winter, followed by a spell of warm and rainy weather, turned the normal spring rising of the Connecticut River into an unprecedented natural catastrophe. Dams were breached, bridges knocked off their foundations, houses swept away. When the floodwaters finally receded, there was destruction everywhere. There were also jobs. The flood brought employment and business back to a town hard hit by the Depression. Springfield recovered, but no one wanted a repeat of the 1936 flood. Congress authorized construction of flood control dams all along the Connecticut River.”

Through much of March many of the major news stories in the papers were flood related. There were tales of devastation, bridges swept away, homes damaged, looters, and public health concerts such fear of typhoid and the need for inoculation of flood survivors. Springfield was hit so badly the March 21st emergency edition of The Republican was printed in Holyoke with the cooperation of the Transcript-Telegram — there was no power in Springfield.

You can read a short description of the flood at Mass Moments, see some photographs in a gallery at WGBY, where the Ed Klekowski film “The Great Flood of 1926” is discussed and offers a one minute video clip.

Sources: Photo, personal collection; Mass Moments, Springfield Republican, and WGBY.

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