More on the Flood of 1927

Middletown escaped the death toll that was experienced upriver, but the power of the Connecticut River was clearly in evidence

The Flood of 1927 caused millions of dollars in damage to Middletown's infrastructure. Yet our city was spared the loss of lives suffered in Vermont where 84 were killed.

A tropical storm dumped tons of rain to our north and the Connecticut River carried the water south to Middletown. This morning's column I included two photographs of the flooding along the river's edge. 

To the right, more photographs illustrate the river flooding, and it is easy to see why Middletown people who lived along the river, particularly in the neighborhoods east of Main Street, will never forget this flood.

The first bridge built between Portland and Middletown was a swing bridge, shown here. It was barely above the river's fast-moving waters. Clearly, boat traffic along the river was shut down for several weeks until the river returned to normal and the debris made its way to Long Island Sound.

In 1927, there were many more structures along the edge of the river. There still remained old warehouses used during the days of the West Indies trade, and the river was still one of the major methods of moving goods to and from Middletown. These buildings, shown in the second photo, were along Water Street, which ran parallel to the river.

The third photograph not only illustrates the devastation in the southern end of downtown, but also provides younger readers with a chance to be introduced to Sumner and South streets, now long gone.  I've included a map from 1874 to show readers where these streets were.

You can see the bridge over Sumner Brook in the background, which today has a more modern roadway taking traffic from Union Street to East Main Street. The garage in this photo was located below where the YMCA was built a few years later. Connecticut Rental would be in the left side of this photo today. Sumner and South Street were removed in the 1970s as part of improvements made by the state to prevent flooding.

The final photograph shows the bridge over the Sebethe River that brought cars from Cromwell to Middletown along River Road. This location is about where the current bridge over the Sebethe (West or Coginchaug) River is on Route 9.


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