Community Reminiscence Night:  Flood Season!  A South Windsor Retrospective


April 8, 2008        7 pm – 8:30 pm


The rains began on March 12, 1936, falling on a healthy blanket of snow, continuing steadily for the next nine days.  By the time they stopped, the Connecticut and Farmington Rivers were cresting at 36 feet above normal levels as raging waters and ice floes swept away buildings, bridges, roads and dams in their path.  At the flood’s end, thousands were left homeless and damages exceeded $100 million.  Two years later, on September 21, 1938, a category three hurricane swept over Long Island, hitting Connecticut and New England hard.  Over 57,000 New England homes and two billion trees were destroyed.  Estimated damage was $306 million (approximately $4.5 billion in today’s dollars.)  In August of 1955, Connecticut was hit by two hurricanes within five days that dropped twenty inches of water on the state.  Disastrous floods arrived on August 19th.  Connecticut Governor Ribicoff estimated the damage from these floods at almost half a billion dollars. 


Those of us living near the Connecticut River grow accustomed to spring river flooding as the snow melts up north.  Fall floods are less common, but in October of 2005, our area experienced a rare “pumpkin flood” named for pumpkins lifted up by their roots as high floodwaters invade the fields where they are planted.  Hundreds of pumpkins torn up by their roots and floating downriver in a pumpkin flood are an unforgettable sight. 


Most of us have experienced flooding as an inconvenience – not as a life altering event.  On Tuesday, April 8 at 7:00 p.m., find out what it was like for those who lived through the floods of 1936 and 1955, the hurricane of 1938, and more at Windsor Historical Society’s community reminiscence night.  South Windsor historian Doris Burgdorf will show the devastating effects of flooding in 1936 and 1955, and the damage caused by the great hurricane of 1938, using images recorded by South Windsor residents up and down Main Street and collected by Helen Pelton and Hildred Raymond.  Cost for this program is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students and $4 for WHS members.  Parking is available around Palisado Green and in the Windsor Discovery Center parking lot.


Audience members are invited to bring their own photo albums and images from floods to display for the evening.  Windsor Historical Society is always interested in photographs with identifiably Windsor images, particularly if individuals appearing in the photographs can be identified.  For information about photograph donations or having scans made for the Society’s collections, contact the Society’s Librarian, Barbara Goodwin or the Curator, Erin Stevic at 860/688-3813 or e-mail them at


These events are part of an exciting year-long round of programs planned by Windsor Historical Society, the Town of Windsor, and the Windsor Chamber of Commerce.  For more information about these programs, please visit or  Many generous sponsors and supporters have helped to make Windsor Historical Society’s events possible including:  

Presenting Sponsors: Anonymous Donor; Connecticut Humanities Council; Hartford Foundation for Public Giving;

Adventurer Sponsors:  Dan J. and Alice Ford Ferraina; Travelers Connecticut Foundation; Windsor Federal Savings;      

Discoverer Sponsors: MiddleOak Specialty Insurance; Alstom Power

Founder Sponsors:  Anonymous Donor; Dill, Joyce & Thresher Insurance; ING; Jim and Kathi Martin; Rabbett Insurance Agency, Savings Bank Life Insurance;

Settler Sponsors: Alford Associates, Inc.; Bill Selig Family Foundation; Carmon Funeral Homes; Elizabeth Feser;  Griffin Land and Nurseries, Inc.; HD2 Development; Pelton Excavation Company; Price Chopper; Rotary Club of Windsor; Stop and Shop Supermarkets; Webster Bank.


The Windsor Historical Society, founded in 1921, invites visitors to explore the people, places, and events that have shaped Windsor for over 370 years.  The Society’s museum includes changing and permanent exhibition galleries; a hands-on history learning center for families; a research library and manuscript collection housing Windsor photographs, documents, ephemera, and genealogical materials, a museum shop and two historic houses open to the public—the 1758 John and Sarah Strong House and the 1767 Dr. Hezekiah Chaffee House. 



Windsor Historical Society       96 Palisado Avenue       Windsor, CT 06095  


Tel:  860-688-3813

Fax:  (860) 687-1633




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Copyright © 2006 by Windsor Historical Society of Windsor, Connecticut, Inc.