Legacy of the 1927 Flood

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Eighty years ago this weekend, floodwaters ravaged Vermont and left a
deep legacy. We hear stories from people who remember the flood, and
talk with historians Deborah and Nicholas Clifford about the event’s
impact on the land, people and government. Their new book is, "The
Troubled Roar of the Waters: Vermont in Flood and Recovery, 1927-1931."

Also in the program, we talk with Greg Hanlon, a hydrologist with the
Army Corps of Engineers, about the modern mechanisms of flood control
and flood prevention that are at work in our region. And we talk with
the new director of the Vermont Folklife Center, Brent Björkman. The
center is dedicated to preserving the voices of Vermonters, and their
memories of events like the 1927 flood.

AP Photo


Listeners’ Stories of the 1927 Flood

Listeners have been emailing us stories they heard from parents and grandparetns about surviving the Flood of 1927 and the aftermath. Write us your family’s story, and we’ll post it to this page.


Marjorie Kramer:

"My friend, Lilla Hodgeman, told me her father had to walk home to
Lowell from Newport, Vermont – 20 miles away – during the flood. He had to walk along the ridgeline due to valley flooding and there were holes in the ground ith water spurting up into the air a foot or two."


John Holme Jr:

"My father, John Holme (now deceased), was a
sophomore at Dartmouth in 1927. He and a friend took one of those little
hand powered carts on the railroad for a joy ride during the flood.
They rode on the tracks for several miles along the bank of the Connecticut
River until they were blocked by the flood waters."


Andrew Bouchard:

"My great-great grandmother owned and ran the Hayes Boarding House in
Bolton the night of the flood. She, and I believe 20 other people, lost their
lives that night in that building. I may be mistaken, but I believe that this
was the largest loss of life in the flood….

"I was told by my grandfather’s half-sister that the boarding house was
built to house the workers who were working on the major road going through
there. The night of the flood killed almost everyone there that night,
except for one worker. According to this relative, the night of the flood one
worker came to the boarding house late in the night and was very drunk. My
great-great grandmother told him that he could not stay there that night
because he was drunk. He ended up climbing up into the hay loft of the near by arn to sleep, and he was the lone survivor."


Carol Schminke:

"My grandfather, Lyndhurst Prime Holcomb (aka ‘Doc’ Holcomb) was Johnson’s doctor from aroung 1910 until 1965 (he died in 1970). His daughter, Madine Holcomb Schmid (my mother), is now 87 and lives with my 17-year-old daughter and me in East Hardwick.

"Her parents’ house and her father’s office were on Route 15 where Route 100C comes in… It was one of the first houses that wasn’t flooded and her family took in 14 families whose houses were left uninhabitable. I realized only a few years ago, when listening to her tell her stories as an old lady, that these were memories of her 7-year-old self, and that gives them some added charm and interest."


Moira Flanagan:

"I remember it rained SO hard. I was 6 and remember my mother giving me
a large kettle to place on the roof outside the bedroom window to collect the
rainwater. Someone else must have brought in the container of water, as I couldn’t have lifted it! Probably my dad had returned from work by that time.We had two cousins who lived in a lower part of town and after work
they were able to reach our home to stay with us."





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