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Picturing the Past 148: Flooded area

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012, at 3:42 PM

A portion of Shelbyville during a 1949 flood. (Photo submitted by Donna Farrar)
Here's the first of what will be an ongoing occasional series of photos of a flood which hit Shelbyville on Jan. 5-6, 1949.

This is a good view of a large portion of Shelbyville. It's possible that none of the buildings or homes pictured exist today, removed during the 1960s urban renewal project. They're far before my time.

But, based on old photos I've seen since starting this blog - and on that fact the topography of the area looks the same as today, I'm guessing that this was shot from atop one of the buildings on the west side of the square looking northwest. I'm expecting one or more readers to pinpoint some of the locations.

As almost always, go here for a larger view.

Period newspaper accounts said this flood wasn't as damaging as the 1948 flood which has had far more publicity. It did leave behind "several hundred thousand dollars" in damage, which would likely equal several million in today's dollars.

Also mentioned was that Narrows Road was the nearest way to get across to the south side of Shelbyville, indicating Duck River didn't reach the Highway 82 bridge out Kingree Road. We've had one flood this century - 2004, I think - when Narrows did the same duty.

Parts of Shelbyville have changed so much compared to older portions of surrounding towns.

Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog. Reader contributions are welcome.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Great picture from the 49 flood. I am looking forward to seeing the others as well.

-- Posted by leeiii on Wed, Feb 29, 2012, at 6:53 AM

I remember this flood well. The national guard used the big trucks to move our family out. The water was up to the bed of the trucks when they backed up to our front porch.My mother said she was awakened by water running through her bed. The water got up to six feet in our living room. The only things we saved were fridge, stove, and clothing. I also lost my simplex motor bike but as it would not float I think someone needed it more than me. I would like to see pictures of the big springs area before urban renewal

-- Posted by ifitis on Wed, Feb 29, 2012, at 2:11 PM

I just can't place the location, and I hope that someone will remember. I do remember the area that flooded but when I see the buildings, I just go blank. My father had the Texaco Service Station on N. Main Street, but I know that the station in the picture was not his. I also see a church in the picture, and I don't remember it, either. Of course, I was very young at the time.

-- Posted by cookie on Thu, Mar 1, 2012, at 8:20 AM

The Texaco station in the lower left hand corner of the picture was on Bridge Street, which ran between the current Regions Bank building and the offices of Bobo, White, Hunt and Nance, and was operated by Otis and Clayton Arnold. The white house to the upper right in the big pool of water is where Mr. Simon Warner lived, or had his buisness, and where the Chamber of Commerce building now stands, it was just south of the railroad and faced West on, I believe, Atkinson Street. A drive went in beside the railroad to the small houses behind Mr. Warners house. I was in the guard at the time and helped move those people out. When we carried the funiture out the water was about even with the front porch.

-- Posted by walrite on Thu, Mar 1, 2012, at 10:16 AM

David...believe you're correct on positioning--shooting from the square, looking NW. Comparing this picture with the one from the 1948 flood [at http://tnsos.org/tsla/imagesearch/index....

(...click on page 8, and scroll down to pics 24558, 59)], I see many of the same landmarks, including my grandparents' house, formerly at the corner of Atkinson & West Lane. The late 40s was a mighty nasty time for this part of Shelbyville. And to think that barely 10 years later, the "urban renewal" project had transformed the area almost totally...wonder how long that'd take to happen today...probably some spider or salamander unique to the area that'd put things on hold for a couple decades!

-- Posted by dkd57 on Thu, Mar 1, 2012, at 10:25 AM

I ran across this today- On March 16,1843- A major Snow storm from Gulf of Mexico to Maine dumped 21 in. of snow on Shelbyville. In Maury Co. All farming was suspened for 6 weeks.

Could it happen again? Yes, But I pray not.

-- Posted by ckna910 on Mon, Mar 5, 2012, at 2:39 PM

I just read what cookie wrote about the picture and even though I was young at the time I do remember a church. I don't know what street it was on (too many years have passed) but my father said it was one of the first black churches in Shelbyville. If I'm wrong, someone correct me please.

-- Posted by Number25 on Mon, Mar 12, 2012, at 4:20 PM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.