David Melson

Picturing the past 205: Floods

Posted Monday, January 19, 2015, at 9:36 AM
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  • Good thing they didn't find a Snaildarter when they built Normandy Dam. Even with the flood gate and pumps we still have had floods that caused Cannon Blvd bridge to close,and several low areas. If the Columbia project had been completed it would have even been better.I still see where it floods buildings there during heavy rains.TVA was building both dams to help with flooding not power producers.I still remember when Normandy held back as long as they could to keep from flooding Columbia.When it finally could hold no more it washed the homes away at the first bridge going to the dam from downtown Normandy.Thanks Al Gore and you tree hugging, snail saving,global warming NUT !!!!!

    -- Posted by mytaxesaremine on Mon, Jan 19, 2015, at 9:48 AM
  • I have always been in awe when I see dams that I fish beneath totally disappear under many feet of water. I suppose it was Nature's way of "flushing the toilet" every once in a while.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jan 19, 2015, at 10:29 AM
  • I was talking with Bill Sharp yesterday at the funeral home about these flood pictures. I joined the National Guard in August of 1956 and we were called up for flood duty in February of 1957. We moved some of the houses on jail hill out before the flood waters reached them. I was asking Bill how many houses there were between the railroad tracks and Fred Phillips store. He said that he thought there were three. That being the case it would have been some of those three houses that we moved out and the furniture was stored at the Armory. The Urban Renewal along with the flood gate and the dams at Normandy and Columbia were some of the better decisions made that impacted my hometown.

    -- Posted by leeiii on Mon, Jan 26, 2015, at 8:44 AM
  • Was the Columbia Dam ever completed?

    -- Posted by FlaDon on Mon, Jan 26, 2015, at 12:34 PM
  • Columbia dam was complete gates and all.Through Federal Court they were given a cease and desist order, so Al Gore and the rest of the tree hugger hippies got there way. It was over a small fish called a Snail Darter. Now the fish survived below Normandy Dam,but for some reason they said it would not make it if the Columbia Dam started holding water.The gates were taken off and everything that could be salvaged was.I made the comment about Gore,but he was not involved just a bunch of his environmental buddies.Funny how a few nuts can cost TVA millions.Hartsville Tn another example.TVA spent hundreds of millions and now it is just a ghost town where the reactor was built.A hand full of people whine and cry and it effects the betterment of a town and or county.

    -- Posted by mytaxesaremine on Mon, Jan 26, 2015, at 2:19 PM
    John Carney
    The snail darter stopped a different project -- the Tellico Dam in Loudon County. The Columbia Dam was stopped because of the birdwing pearly mussel.
  • If you research you will see where Lamar Alexander fought when they were trying to stop the Telico Plains dam in the early 70's. He and several more won the battle and the Dam was completed. The right people did not own land around the Columbia site or it would have held water.Not dogging Lamar, I like him.

    -- Posted by mytaxesaremine on Mon, Jan 26, 2015, at 2:32 PM
  • I stand corrected. John you are correct. To the best of my bad memory they had started on the snail darter, and moved to the mussel that still lives in the Duck including the ones below Normandy Dam.They were using studies from the Telico Plains uproar.I just remember them talking of the Darter before they started the project ,and I guess it stuck in my head.Thanks for the correction.

    -- Posted by mytaxesaremine on Mon, Jan 26, 2015, at 5:58 PM
  • That was about 2 months before I was born. The only flood of any real substance I can recall happened in about 1970, I think, with the Duck overflowing its banks all along the river channel. My grandfather lived on Couch Lane and the water came up to his front door, and I remember the bridge on Cannon Blvd. being inundated by the heavy flow of water. The storms also caused the highway to Murfreesboro to be almost impassable at some of its low points.

    -- Posted by mdstover on Mon, Feb 16, 2015, at 7:56 PM
  • I will never forget the flood in Normandy when the dam that had been held as long as possible had to be opened. It was a cold December night and the rain was turning to sleet. The swift waters rose so fast the mobile homes near the fire hall quickly started to disappear. Our neighbors had been visiting us a few houses up the street and as they headed home they saw the waters rising. They quickly yelled for help and we ran to them as fast as we could. Their children were trapped inside one of those mobile homes and the fear in their parents eyes that night was a sight that haunts me still. While my husband and the children's father ran to get a flat bottom boat to bring the children to safety I started the long swim to the children. I can still remember that swift freezing water and the fear I felt that night. The children's mother clung to me as I swam toward her children and although she couldn't swim very well she was determined to get to her babies. It felt like an eternity fighting that cold water but we finally reached the home with the children inside. The steps had been washed away and it felt like I was lifting a thousand pounds as I pulled myself up and in through the door. As we gathered the children the men arrived with the boat and we managed to get them to safety. We then went door to door of the other mobile homes to notify the other residents and make sure they got out safely. Within a short time the homes were no longer visible as the flood waters covered them up. Although my friends lost all their belongings that night including their Christmas gifts I never heard them complain. They were just thankful to have escaped safely and to have their children there with them. I can not count the number of times that I have give thanks for everyone escaping that night safely myself and for the strength we all somehow found to get to those children. We still stay in contact and those children are now grown with children of their own and they are still that same strong family as they were that night. I have since moved away from Normandy but no matter where life may take me that is a memory burned deep within my soul and a nightmare that I hope no one else ever has to endure.

    -- Posted by SilverWolf on Wed, Feb 18, 2015, at 1:22 AM
  • *

    Here is a 2007 article from the Times Gazette; the author quotes Frank Fly, an attorney that represented opponents to Columbia dam.


    Of interest is the Reagan administration cut funding for Columbia dam.

    -- Posted by Grit on Sun, Mar 8, 2015, at 10:21 AM
  • Good article Grit. This article says Joe L. Evins used politics and went against the recommendation of the TVA in building the Columbia dam in the first place. What a shame to waste all that money and effort.

    The largest flood I can remember was in 1972 I believe. I think that was before Normandy was completed. The flood waters got in our yard before receding. There has been only one time since then that it got close to the house, but not in the yard. I believe that was in 2003.

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Mon, Mar 9, 2015, at 1:03 PM
  • This might be of interest here. A book written about the Snail Darter and the Dam. Apparently pork barrel politics was the root cause of the extreme waste at Columbia and Tellico Plains.


    Some of the reviews of this book are particularly interesting.

    -- Posted by Liveforlight on Tue, Mar 10, 2015, at 6:13 AM
  • more please

    -- Posted by worthingtons on Tue, Jan 5, 2016, at 12:23 PM
  • we are all looking for more from pictures from the past. Please when you have time.

    -- Posted by brendatngirl on Thu, Jan 21, 2016, at 1:24 PM
  • david waiting on new ones ....please

    -- Posted by worthingtons on Mon, Oct 3, 2016, at 11:08 AM
  • I was looking for a drowning in December of 1972 of Joyce Ann Richardson and canít find it could you please help me

    -- Posted by Louannovercast@bellsouth.net on Mon, Nov 25, 2019, at 9:28 AM
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