Whitney Web Page -
Southbridge History

The 1955 Flood - Looking back 60 years later
August 19, 1955 - Southbridge Mass.

Watch Youtube video of 2015 talk on the flood

Hurrican Dianes path in August, 1955

The rains devastated the Norheast. In Southbridge, flooding was severe as two dams broke (one in Charlton and one in at West Street).
The "walls of water" converged on the Flats area. The AO Complex was under 15 Feet of Water.

These rare photos (Courtesy of Emily Faxon Gillman)
were taken during the height of the flood in the Flats of Southbridge.


Photo courtesy of Jim Houghton
Click here for "Then and Now" views

The Photo below (Don Whitney)
was the aftermath as viewed at the intersection of Mechanic and North St.

Check out this Audio clip!

Close family friend Bob Haynes taped the WESO Radio Broadcast of the 1955 Flood as it was happening. He lived on Wallace Road in Sturbridge and had the foresight to tape the WESO Broadcast. A porton of it may be downloaded here:. Download Zip file here of WESO Radio Broadcast. This audio file is in wav format and has been zipped to 1/2 of the 1MB file size. It contains a dramatic segment where evacuation routes are being given and the siren in the center of Southbridge can be heard in the background.

Photos submitted by Bill Kroll at West ST.


Statistics about the 1955 Flood as printed in the Southbridge Evening News
as it appeared in Aug 31, 1955

Aug 1999 photo of me standing by the Flood level marks on the old AO Main plant (now the Southbridge Hotel).
The top marks show the water level for the August 19, 1955 Flood -15 feet high!!!
The second level is that of the 1938 Flood (Sept 21st).
The remaining are for the March 19, 1936 and March 12 1936 Flood levels (bottom)

Photos above and below submitted by Bob McMaster Jr.. Above the damage near the corner of Mechanic and Mary Streets.
Below, outside the AO Frame Plant with motors damaged by the Flood Waters.


Ames and the 1955 Flood - Bill Kroll

After the Flood - Don Croke recalls the Flood of 1955

Russell St. Laurent recalls the 1955 Flood on Mechanic St.

Brian Chipman recalls free ice cream & the wall of water in the 1955 Flood

Evelyn (Mrs. Albert) Petrelli Recalls the 1955 Flood

Cliff Harvey, Jr. recalls
the Harvey/Wells business and the 1955 Flood Destruction

On this site are photos of the 1955 and 1938 Floods. Be sure to read below these Floods.

More Information on the Flood of 1955

Flood Control History After the 1955 Flood

The Flood of 1938

Learn about AO and the Floods

Fires of Southbridge

Dick Whitney  July 5, 2007

AO History Page

Southbridge History Page

Whitney Home Page