Waterbury, CT Flood, Sept 1882


Nothing Like It Since 1875---An Iron Bridge Swept.

WATERBURY, Sept. 23.----Since the terrible cloud-burst of Aug. 18, 1875, which laid North Main street and the central park a barren waste, piling Exchange place full of debris, such a terrific downpour has not been known in this city till Saturday night. For the space of about two and a half hours, from 6:30 to 9 o'clock, rain fell in torrents. At one time it was impossible to detect objects across a street. Such pedestrians only as circumstances forced out were seen upon the streets, and they were clothed from head to foot in rubber. Upon the level streets water stood from six inches to one and a half feet in depth, and the sidewalks were overflowed. Great gullies were washed in many parts of the town, requiring the presence of the street commissioners at an early hour to make the streets passable. At about midnight the water in the river was at its height, though the rain had much abated. At that hour the framework supporting the iron being placed in position at the new West End suspension bridge was washed away, and hundreds of tons of costly fitted iron construction material was precipitated into the boiling flood, where it now lies scattered for some distances, broken, twisted and ruined. It is estimated that the loss to the contractors will be about $15,000. This city will also be forced to submit to another six month's inconvenience. Several men who were watching the structure narrowly escaped with their lives. One man had but just stepped from the foot-bridge when the whole thing collapsed. The terrible crash of smashing timbers and breaking of great iron rods awakened people half a mile away, being heard and the jar felt far above the roaring of the terrible torrent. The river was about twelve feet above-high water mark and Riverside street was for about six hours submerged, even at 6 o'clock Sunday morning being practically impassable. Riverside cemetery was badly washed in, some of its hillside avenues and the main entrance had to undergo repairs before the arrival of a funeral cortege on Sunday. It will be some days before a full estimate of the damages can be made but it is believed that $20,000 will cover all loss.

The latest estimates of the loss on iron bridge from various sources vary from $3,000 to $10,000 and upwards. The loss can't be determined until the iron is found and examined. The street loses are not fully estimated. The rain fall on Saturday between 6:30 and 9 p.m. was 4.20 inches; the total fall during the storm was 6.95.

The New Haven Evening Register, New Haven, CT 25 Sept 1882