Friday, September 9, 2011

Cavendish Semiquincentennial: 1927 Flood

The Cavendish Historical Society Museum will be open this coming Sunday from 2-4 pm. We will have information about the flood of 1927 and are collecting pictures and items from previous floods, including the one from Aug. 28. For more information, or 802-226-7807.

The largest flood on record in Vermont caused heavy damage in the Black River Valley, particularly Cavendish. A quarter mile long channel avulsion bypassing the Cavendish Gorge eroded approximately 2 million tons of sediment down to bedrock leaving a channel 150 feed deep and 600 feet wide. Seven houses were washed away and the Duttonsville School ended up protruding over the edge of a high sandbank. Redfield Proctor, former Vermont governor, offered $10,000 to restore the schoolhouse. Olin Gay, Chairman of the School Board, proposed using this gift to move the school to a new location. He also proposed that the town raise an additional $5,000 by taxes to put in an auditorium basement, modernize the heating system and install toilets. The school building was moved on big rollers by oxen and horses 400 feet back to a safer location. It had much better facilities than before the flood. A Vermont Standard School until 1928, thanks to the renovations after the flood, Duttonsville was upgraded to a “Superior School,” a status it retained until closing in 1971.

President Calvin Coolidge telegraphs his cousin, Park Pollard, after the flood, wanting to know what he can do for Cavendish. He sent Herbert Hoover, his Secretary of Commerce, to visit the region and to make recommendations. Two Army engineers came to give technical help about relocating the state road.

Note: Articles from the 1927 Flood, as well as pictures, will be at the Museum on Sunday 2-4 pm.

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