1942 Flood

Posted on April 10, 2008. Filed under: History | Tags: |

In October 1942 Fredericksburg was once again hit by a devastating flood of epic proportion.  A 45-foot wall of water submerged or partly submerged buildings housing more than 500 families, stopped all electric power and contaminated the water supply.  There were 1500 persons driven from their homes.  Five gasoline and oil storage tanks in Fredericksburg, surrounded by flood water, blew up, and flaming oil spread out and menaced the waterfront properties.  The Red Cross relief center was established on the second floor of the National Bank building by Woodson Boyle, chairman of Fredericksburg Red Cross. 

Red Cross in the first days following flood supplied aid to over 1500 persons, giving them shelter and food.  In addition the Red Cross supplied  meals for 160 patients and staff of the Mary Washington Hospital, where a break in electric service disrupted the cooking facility.

Dr. W.W. Butzner, Jr., city health officer, vaccinated over 2,000 persons with the tyhpoid serum.  Over 1,000 meals were served to persons homeless from the flood and to flood-relief workers at the Presbyterian Church and about 750 meals at the James Madison High School.  

Although not Red Cross members, the Boy Scouts of Fredericksburg played a most important role during the flood period in assisting the Red Cross.  Tirelessly, day and night, they ran with messages from one part of the city to another.  They were under the direction of Scout Leaders Ira Grinnan and Lester M. Redgrave.

Again the Red Cross and local citizens pulled together to survive the devastating effects of the 1942 flood. 

Attached are photos from the Free Lance Star of the flood.

 

 

 

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