The Flood of 1937

I was 20 years old in 1937. This is what I remember:

This was a very memorable time. I was employed at G&G Mfg Company on Spring Grove Avenue, across from Jergens. Our offices were on the second floor of the building. When the Mill Creek overflowed its banks, water came rushing along Spring Grove Avenue in huge billowing waves - dirty, muddy water - obviously contaminated with bacteria. Our company immediately provided typhoid innoculations for all employees. Electric power was very low and our accounting equipment could barely function. The first floor of the building was flooded and manufacturing equipment could not operate.

The building was situated on a sloping site with a dry area at the top. Despite the disastrous conditions, we were expected to come to work every day as usual. The buses that took us to work were operated by drivers who were not familiar with Cincinnati streets and often headed in wrong directions. When we finally arrived at our workplace, we were dropped off in the dry area of our building. We could walk a few feet to the flooded area where little row boats carried us to the nearest stairway and we could walk up to our offices on the second floor. Because of the power problem, there was no heat (in January!) and a huge pot-bellied stove was placed in the center of the work area. Dirt and coal ashes were everywhere.

My father decided to volunteer his services to aid in helping the city recover from the disaster. He was an immigrant from Austria-Hungary where he had served in the Corps of Engineers. During his service he had been trained in small boat building so his contribution to the recovery effort was teaching other volunteers to build boats. He was proud to be of service and I am proud to be the daughter of this man, a foreign immigrant, dedicated to his new country.

My story about the Flood og 1937 was preinted in the Cincinnati Enquirer on January 21, 2007. Click here and scroll down to TYPHOID INJECTIONS AT THE OFFICE to see my story.


Created March 13, 2007.