Sunday, May 1, 2011

Flood of 1945

This is not the first year Kentucky has dealt with flooding from the Ohio and Cumberland Rivers. The most devastating floods occurred in 1884, 1913 and 1937, but floods in other years  caused problems. One such flood was that of 1945.

The Livingston Leader (published in Smithland, Kentucky) on 15 March 1945 stated that the Ohio River had risen during the past week  from the river to U.S. Highway 60 (Adair Street).  The overflow had covered the town's main business and residential areas. In two places, the flood waters had even crossed the highway. Goods and belongings had been removed  from businesses and homes in advance of the water so that loss in that respect would be light. However,  40 families were out of their homes with 35 of those homes being underwater. Also underwater were over 20 places of business. The water had passed the old Methodist church on Mill Street and covered the entire lower floor of the Bush (Bush-Dallam) house.   Fortunately, the flood did not reach the wells supplying water to the town.  School was closed for two weeks until all danger of flooding had disappeared.

There have been floods  in Smithland since 1945 - in particular, 1997 and 2005. Each time  flooding is predicted, the community gathers itself together and tries to stop the flood waters.  Residents living along the rivers today, again, face possible flooding. The National Guard plus local residents and jail inmates have worked hard to construct a flood wall to stop the flow of water into the town.  Let's hope they are successful.

Copyright on text and photographs
by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog

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