Norwich, Connecticut, USA - 1807 Flood and Fire (Norwich)
After the present century came in, the first great flood was in 1807. The rivers began to break up on Saturday night, Feb. 7th. The cracking of the vast blocks of ice was like the crash of thunder. The Shetucket rose eighteen or twenty feet. Lord's and Lathrop's bridges were swept away. On Sunday morning, fire was cried through the streets, and alarm bells were rung. For many years no such inundation had been known. The current swept over East Chelsea, and for a time gave it the appearance of a lake, with a few house's lifting their roofs above the waters.
The flood rose so rapidly that several families were taken by surprise and imprisoned in their houses. They retreated to the upper stories, but when the water came within a few inches of the second floors, it was considered unsafe for them to remain, and they were brought away in boats, into which they dropped from the windows.. From hill to hill, all Franklin and East Main street was an expanse of water.
At the intersection of the streets, from the corner where now stands the Wauregan hotel to the opposite corner, a temporary embankment was raised with great celerity and good effect. It was composed of timbers, spars, rails, and wood, secured by heavy stones, and filled in with hay, straw, canvas, and any thing that would resist leakage ; and though the waters slightly trickled over this breastwork, it kept off the great volume of water until the river subsided, which was in the course of a few hours.
From subsequent town acts and accounts, we obtain the result of bridge damage from this freshet. The stone bridge over Swallow-all brook, and Lathrop's bridge, were rebuilt; Lovett's repaired; Geometry bridge, abutments replaced; Wharf bridge, Court-house and Quarter bridges repaired.
History of Norwich, Connecticut: From Its Possession by the Indians to the Year 1866 Author Frances Manwaring Caulkins Publisher By H.P. Haven, 1874
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