Flood of 1936 (Lawrence, MA)

flood10The library has several collections of photographs and one scrapbook.

The snowfall of 1935-36 was extremely heavy.  The drifts were still intact in March due to a protracted period of cold weather.  An early spring thaw and heavy rains filled Lake Winnepesaukee to dangerous levels and the spill off began to flood the Merrimack, Spicket, and Shawsheen Rivers.  March 12, 1936 the headlines of local papers changed from news of Europe to the rising waters of New England Rivers.  By the 13th operations were suspended at the Wood Mill in Lawrence; other mills followed suit.  More heavy rain on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17th, made the Merrimack rise 5 feet in 24 hours.  On March 20th, the Merrimack reached flood stage.  A record of 46.85 feet was recorded at the Lawrence Dam.  By March 21 the water level had risen to 48 feet. 

The flood of 1936 ravaged much of a 13-state area of the northeast.  Damages mounted to $300,00,00.  400,000 were homeless and 178 deaths were reported.  The National Guard was called to active duty; many thousands were without heat and water.  Pneumonia had already become a problem, but there was a growing fear of typhoid and influenza.  By the end of March the floodwaters began to recede.

2 Responses

  1. I have an original Boston Post from March 21, 1936 that my grandfather saved.

  2. looking for info on the rosewood amusement park

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