1937 Flood in Campbell County
The following information is taken from the 1937 Cincinnati and Kentucky Times-Star newspaper. The flood affected communities in states all along the Ohio River and any waterway that intersected with the Ohio. This article focuses on Campbell County only and reports only that information that made the daily paper. The dates shown will be the date of the newspaper reporting the information.
Wed. Jan 13: The Ohio River is reported to have climbed to 42.7 foot but predictions are it will crest at 43.5 Foot, well below the 52 foot flood stage.
Thur. Jan 14: Heavy rains flood the roads. Campbell County Road Engineer Charles Theil reports considerable damage to smaller roads and bridges. brickwork foundations of small bridges were washed away in several areas and hillsides slid onto roadways. Some roads have buckled.
Fri. Jan 15: Flooded creeks are reported as subsiding. Preparations are being made by officials of Newport and Campbell County to combat flood water in case the Ohio River goes beyond 52 Feet. Water has reached 50 feet after rising 7.8 feet in 24 hours. The newspaper notes that at 52 feet, water comes out of sewers at Southgate and Isabella Streets in Newport. A further rise will bring water to other streets in the low sections of West Newport. Back waters of the Ohio have flooded Dodsworth Lane in Brent and 10 mile pike. River Crest is still expected below 52 feet but the forecast is for continued rain.
Sat. Jan 16: The river is receding after reaching a peak of 51.66 Feet. All danger of flood is reported as having passed.
Mon. Jan 18: 1.79 inches of rain have fallen in the last 24 hours. Flood waters are now predicted to force thousands from their homes before the river rests between 58 and 59 feet.
NEWPORT - The first water was reported as having seeped into Southgate and Isabella streets on Monday and the estimated 59 feet level will throw water in and around 500 Newport Homes.
DAYTON - Water is at Second Ave. and Clark Streets by early Monday. 59 Feet is expected to cover Third Ave. along with portions of Second and Fourth Ave., and will force several hundred residents from their homes. The Dog Track at Tacoma Park is reported to be a lake.
BELLEVUE - Reports say the flood will not affect Bellevue because of its higher level .
SILVER GROVE And BRENT - Families were forced to flee when backwaters reached homes near the bridge connecting Silver Grove and Brent. Much of River Road will be under water.
Tues. Jan 19: Lambert Hehl has been named emergency chairman of the Campbell County Red Cross. River Crest is now expected at 60 Feet.
NEWPORT - 300 families have been driven from homes. Newport City Manager John T. Rawlings ordered police not to tag automobiles in any part of the city during the flood since so many west end garages are underwater. Flood refugees are being housed in churches and public buildings including the Campbell County Courthouse in Newport. 1000 families are estimated will be effected by a 60 foot crest.
DAYTON - Street car traffic into Dayton is being effected by the Tuesday closing of the Fourth Street Bridge. Third Ave. is under water along with parts of Second and Fourth Ave. 400 to 500 families are expected to be affected by the time the flood crests.
ALEXANDRIA - Route 27 south of Alexandria and State Route 10 have been closed by flooding.
SILVER GROVE and BRENT - The bridge between the two cities is closed. A special train known as the commuter is being operated to bring these citizens to Newport. Roads at Brent, Four Mile, and 8 Mile are Closed. More rain is forecast.
Wed. Jan 20: Flood waters have closed several State Highways. Various Northern Kentucky streets are closed. Alexandria Pike between Newport and Alexandria is reported as not closed by flood.
NEWPORT - 325 families have been moved. Newport has requested additional trucks from the Fort Thomas Army Post.
BELLEVUE - reported free of flood suffering.
DAYTON - The city couldn’t keep record of all the families moved but estimated 200 families moved and hundreds more to care for. Refugees are housed in private homes, The Knights of Columbus Hall, and the City Building.
SILVER GROVE - The road to Silver Grove has been cut off by water. Light rain is predicted. Estimates say the flood may reach 61 feet.
Thur. Jan 21: There was a jump in waters following a downpour during the night and early morning. The river is over 63 feet and expected to crest at 65-66 feet. Street cars on several lines are being rerouted because of rising water.
NEWPORT - The Central Bridge approach in Cincinnati is under water and all traffic over the bridge has stopped. Andrews Steel dumped its fires Thursday when water started to flow over its floors. The Newport Rolling Mill has also shut down. More then 1000 men are idled by these closures.
DAYTON - The city is storing furniture from the flood area in any vacant storeroom they can find.
BELLEVUE - Families on Eden Avenue are hit by flood water.
BRENT - The highway from Fort Thomas to Brent is underwater near Brent forcing the C & O Railroad to stop operation of busses for employees.
Fri. Jan 22: Reports say the 1913 flood peak of 69.9 feet was passed by 10 A.M. and the water will pass the 1884 record of 71.1 foot by nightfall. Heavy rains have fallen the last 24 hours. Water will crest between 71 and 72 feet. Low points in the county roadways are flooded preventing traffic from getting through and making traffic dangerous. Streetcar service ended at 5 A.M. because of the Newport Sub-Station at 12th and Brighton being evacuated. Residents of Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, and Ft Thomas had to seek other transportation. Union Light, Heat and Power warned of electrical curtailment. The Covington Western Union office was unable to deliver messages into Campbell County flood areas.
NEWPORT - Chief of police Leo Livingston urged people to keep away from the flood area.
BELLEVUE - Mayor Fred Klett and Fire Chief Raymond Yelton are among about 100 families forced from their homes by water. A soup kitchen was established in the basement of the St. John Evangelical Church at Ward and Fairfield Ave. to feed refugees.
Sat. Jan 23: Heavy snow and wind conditions are present. U.L.H.&P. is hoisting generators to keep equipment out of the water. Food shortages are causing both The Red Cross and The Salvation Army to ration food to two meals a day. Crest is predicted between 73 and 75 Feet.
DAYTON - Some areas of Dayton are without power. Practically half of the city’s 13,000 inhabitants have been driven from their homes. Speers Hospital has 6 feet of water in the basement making operations impossible. The C & O Railroad is running a train from the Fourth Street depot in Cincinnati, Through Covington, into Newport and Dayton.
NEWPORT - Reports of 4500 homeless families. About 75 streets under water which was over 1/3 the city.
Mon. Jan 25: Ohio river at 79.2 feet and still rising. A crest of 80 feet plus or minus is predicted. Thousands of businesses are closed. Officials urge citizens to conserve light and water. Lieut. Col. H. A. Wadsworth , Commandant at Ft. Thomas has received no authority to move men into flooded Campbell County but is holding the regiment to marching order for instant action. Thousands of sandbags are used to keep the Covington approach to the Suspension Bridge above water. This is the last link to Cincinnati.
NEWPORT - Semi-martial law was established Sunday to prevent looting.
DAYTON - Over 60 city blocks under water. 7000 to 10, 000 inhabitants affected. Over 100 patients in Spears Hospital were evacuated to the school.
SILVER GROVE - Refugees are saved from attics and rooftops and taken to St. Ann Convent on the hilltop. A general view of Silver grove shows only rooftops protruding above swirling waters.
Tues. Jan 26: Flood water hits 79.99 Feet at 2 P.M. with predictions the crest may go slightly less then 81 feet. Northern Ky rations water with Newport receiving service 6-8 A.M. and 5-7 P.M. only. Electricity is limited since all substations in the area are out of commission with a meager supply being brought in from out of town. Fort Thomas troops are sent to Frankfort when Martial Law is declared there.
DAYTON - Water is at Seventh Ave. in many places and Sixth Ave. is under water for four blocks. Many houses including the Bathhouse at Tacoma Park have floated away. Fire, Police, and Spears Hospital operate from Dayton High School at Eighth and Walnut.
Wed Jan 27: Campbell County farmers report numbers of cows, horses, hogs and sheep have been carried away by water. Campbell County homes on the same line with essential services have power while many others do not. Special Passes are needed to travel restricted areas of Newport. The River is at 79.45 Feet and falling after Tuesday’s peak of 79.99 Feet. No rain is expected.
Thur Jan 28 and after: The crisis is passing and the time for assessment has arrived.
NEWPORT - City manager John T. Rowlings says more then 40% of Newport proper was under flood water. Very little disorder was reported in Campbell County. Hundreds of homes have left their foundations and are overturning. Dozens of Newport street cars were rooftop deep in water. The Steel plant had water 18-20 foot deep.
DAYTON - over 75% of the population was forced from their homes. At high water, 118 square blocks were inundated.
Fri. Feb 5: The Ohio river finally drops below flood stage.
From the archives of the Campbell County Historical and Genealogical Society. Visit them.