How can studying the Flood of 1927 help us think about the flooding in 2011?
Have you heard about the Flood of 1927? Historians talk about how that flood changed Vermont. In the future, we will think about how Tropical Storm Irene changed Vermont. Years from now, students will look at pictures of washed out roads in Mendon. They will watch videos of the Whetstone Brook flooding Brattleboro. They will read about towns like Rochester and Bennington that were cut off from other towns. They will look at maps to see where roads and bridges washed away. They might compare the Flood of 2011 to the Flood of 1927.
There was a lot of damage in Vermont in 2011, just like there was in 1927. In November of 1927, it rained hard for three days. The rivers and streams flooded. Water flowed into towns like Waterbury, Stockbridge and Johnson. Eighty-four people died in the flooding. Many bridges and roads were washed away. The flood destroyed many houses and farms.
After the 1927 flood, Vermonters worked together to rebuild the state. Workers in Vermont fixed the roads and built new bridges. They built dams to help control flooding in the future. Vermont towns used money from the state and US government to repair the damage. In January 1928, Governor Weeks announced that Vermont was “ready for business.”
President Calvin Coolidge visited Vermont in 1928. He saw how Vermont had recovered from the flood. He made a famous speech in Bennington. He said “I love Vermont because of her hills and valleys, her scenery and invigorating climate, but most of all because of her indomitable people.” He praised “the people of this brave little state of Vermont.”
After the Flood of 1927, Vermonters put up signs to show how high the water was. In some places, the flood waters in 2011 were higher than in 1927. Maybe after Vermonters fix the roads, bridges and houses, they will put up new signs. These signs will show how high the flood water was in 2011. And in 50 years, you can tell your children and grandchildren about the Flood of 2011.
Thinking about History
Herbert Hoover visited Vermont after the flood in 1927. He said “I have seen Vermont at its worst and Vermonters at their best.” What do you think he meant by this? Could you say the same thing about the flood in 2011?
|Rain, Rain, and Still More Rain (PDF)|
|1927 Flood silent movie (Freedom & Unity link -
click purple button to enlarge)
|Listen to memories of the flood from the Green Mountain Chronicles (outside link)|
|See photographs and read documents about the flood (outside link)|
|Read Nora's Ark, a story about the Flood of 1927|
|A Forest Army Goes to Work (PDF)|
|Runaway Pond - another flood story|
Teachers & Parents: Vermont Flood of 1927 Lesson Plans