Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Flood at Nashville

The Flood at Nashville

Many Buildings Under Water and
Much Distress Among the Poor
Nashville Tenn., March 14.- The river is now several inches higher than it has been at any time during the winter. Much suffering is being endured by the poor people whose homes are in low places. Many families have been drive from their homes by the water. Numerous small dwellings in the northern part of the city are completely under water. The lower part of the racecourse in inundated. The water in Sulpher Spring Bottom extends from a point half a mile west of the Capitol to the river. Directly opposite, on the northern bank of the river, the water has passed over the embankment and reaches out into East Nashville, along the line of the Louisville and Nashville Railroad track for half a mile. This sheet of water, viewed from the west, resembles a large inland lake and appears to be at least two miles in length. Many dwellings along the river front, north and south, are underwater to a depth of several feet. The water is now washing the lower end of Broad-street, while in black bottom it is nearly up to Summer-street. The waters are up to the pavement on Front-street, and it will require only a slight additional rise to put it into the cellars of the business houses on that thoroughfare. Nearly all the mills along the banks of the Cumberland have suspended operations, as their yards are covered.

Some of you from Nashville may recognize some of the street names. But some of them have changed. And that isn't surprising.  The year was 1884, and this article ran in the New York Times.

But at the same time some Mormon missionaries spent a couple of days in Nashville. It had been raining hard up till the day before. Elder Willis E. Robinson wrote this in his journal.

Wednesday. March 12th 1884
Weather. pleasant and clear. This morning we all started out to see the sights or to use a comon (sic) expression, to take in the town. After going through some of the finest streets we went out on the Wire bridge that spans the Cumberland River. The water was very high, many houses, near the river were under water and the people were in distressing circumstances.
...
[From the top of the statehouse] we could see the entire city spread out below us and the sight was a very beautifulone . as the Capitol itsself (sic) stands on an eminence over looking the City. Below us we could see the submerged portion of the city. and through the streets men were going in skiffs and canoes.
The State Capitol as it appeared in 1884.

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2 comments:

Ardis said...

I woke up a dozen times last night, and every time I heard a light drizzle dripping from my eaves and hoped it would dry up before I had to walk anywhere this morning. Whoopee.

Best wishes for the people of Nashville, whether it's 1884 or 2010.

BruceCrow said...

Thanks, Ardis. It puts everything in perspective doesn't it?