Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What's the Flood of '55?

If you live in the Lehigh Valley, especially Easton, it's important to understand the impact that floods have had on the community, and how to prepare for another potential natural disaster. The Nurture Nature Center (516 Northampton Street, Easton) is hosting an event tonight from 6-8 p.m. that might interest history buffs, native Eastonians and newcomers interested in learning about the community's history. The organization is celebrating the launch of the updated second edition of Mary Shafer's "Devastation on the Delaware: Stories and Images of the Deadly Flood of 1955."

The book is about the largest flood disaster ever to hit the Delaware River, which changed life in the Delaware Valley forever. Record-breaking rainfall from hurricanes Connie and Diane abruptly ended a withering drought in August 1955, but the relief was short-lived. From the river’s headwaters in the Catskills and through the Poconos, excessive runoff surged down steep slopes and through valleys on both sides of the river. Tributaries swelled unbelievably, some rising 30' in 15 minutes. Eventually, they all poured into the Delaware, transforming the usually placid waters into a raging, uncontrollable beast. Mountain resorts were inundated, leaving cars upended in swimming pools. Entire summer camps were washed away. More than 400 children were evacuated by helicopter from island camps in a tense, unprecedented operation.

The beautiful Grand Eastonian Suites (140 Northampton Street, Easton) is the backdrop for the event. Guests will enjoy free refreshments and will have an opportunity to learn more and share your own flood stories in a permanent oral history collection. Free and open to the public, hosted by The Nurture Nature Foundation. No RSVP, no cover charge.


  1. Richard's Drive In in Palmer has some great pictures from the flood on the counter, under glass.
    A friend of mine lived in a home on Spring Garden St and remembers their piano floating in the 1st floor! the homes are still there, amazing.

  2. Anonymous8/27/2011

    I remember being at my grandmother's house on Bushkill ST.(where the present Welcome To Easton Sign Is. At the foot of Jefferson Mtn.). She lived in a 3 floor Apt. I remember my dad, mother and aunt rushing to get furniture and My toys!, off the 1st floor. Also have memory of my dad fishing out 3rd floor window and eventually my mother taking me up over the bank in the back of house and past the rear of the Express bldg. and to 5th st up to where my other grandmother lived on Jefferson St.