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Flood of 1947

 

FLOOD OF 1947. On the night of June 3, 1947, neighborhoods along the East Creek fell victim to the most physically damaging flood in the city's history. After days of heavy rain Central Vermont Public Service's (CVPS) dam on the Chittenden Reservoir malfunctioned and sent large amounts of water downstream into the East Pittsford dam. The deluge washed out the East Pittsford dam which released a cascade of water down the East Creek eventually submerging at least twenty streets on the city's west side within two hours. More than 300 dwellings and a number of businesses suffered damage with Water, Cleveland and Baxter streets bearing the worst. Highways, bridges, and the city's waterworks were also damaged or washed away by the flood waters. CVPS's Cleveland Ave. facilities suffered a fatal blow which cut off much of the power and gas to the city for days after the flood.

Local emergency services, notified of the impending surge by CVPS, responded quickly. While homes and businesses were ruined, there was no loss of life.

Federal, state and local assistance came to the aid of the victims in many forms. The Federal Disaster Loan Corporation provided reconstruction aid while the U.S. Army sent elements of the First Army troops to purify water and provide evacuation assistance. The 172 nd Infantry of the Vermont National Guard provided security and safety to the community. The Red Cross provided emergency shelter and numerous Rutland businesses donated goods and/or released their employees to assist in the clean-up and recovery.

In the aftermath, CVPS paid nearly $2.5 million for replacement and reconstruction costs, repair work on electric facilities, settlement of flood claims, and legal costs. While the disaster wrecked havoc, it showed that Rutlanders could work together, help each other in times of need and survive a major crisis. The Flood of 1947 ultimately left an indelible impression on the city and its people.

Chuck Piotrowski

Rutland Historical Society

 

Sources:

  • Central Vermont Public Service Collection, Rutland Historical Society.
  • Electric Utilities in Vermont : A Narrative History of Central Vermont Public Service Corporation and its Predecessor Companies . Central Vermont Public Service Corporation, 1979.
  • The Flood at Rutland Vermont June 1947, A Story in Headlines, Text and Pictures . Rutland Herald, no date.
  • Flood of 1947 Collection, Rutland Historical Society.

 

 

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