Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pictures from Fifty-eight Years Ago this Morning in Bovina

Citizens in Bovina woke up on August 14, 1953 to a major clean-up job.  The night before, the town was hit by a flash flood. The storm wiped out five bridges on Bramley Mountain and inundated Clayton Thomas's garage in Bovina Center. Bob Hall had just brought his car into Thomas's garage when the water hit. He spent 45 minutes perched on top of his car before it was safe to get down. An unoccupied house owned by Lester Hoy was moved completely off its foundation.  It would have moved even further had its progress not been stayed by a tree.  The damage from the flood was estimated to cost around $200,000 (equal to about $1.5 million in today's dollars). At the time of the flood, Bovina native Walter (Watt) Coulter noted that the last such flood to hit Bovina happened in 1894.

Photojournalist, Bob Wyer, was on the scene the night of the flood and the next morning to document the clean-up.  Here are some of the photos he took of that event, courtesy of the Delaware County Historical Association (click on each image to see a larger version of it):

House along Brush's Brook the evening of the flood.  The house was moved completely off its foundation (see next photograph) and had to be demolished.  Note the high level of water in Brush's Brook.

The morning after.
Bridge at the lower end of the hamlet.  Note the logs propped up on the bridge.  This bridge was demolished two years later.

Cleaning up the damage by the bridge at Brush's Brook, looking 'downtown.'

Another view of the hamlet at Brush's Brook, looking 'uptown.'

Clayton Thomas pointing out the damage in his garage.

1 comment: