The Flood of 1891
During the summer of 1891 flash floods roared down each of the mountain streams emptying into the Little Hoosick River. The rain started early Thursday morning on August 27, and there was a steady downpour until noon followed by another heavy shower. The rain stopped for a while, and then at 7 pm there was a cloudburst with thunder and lightning. The flooding started about 8 pm. At that time it was the worst overflow of the Little Hoosick ever recorded—estimated at 20 to 30 feet above usual levels. Witnesses said it “took buildings away as though they were eggshells.”
Damage was estimated between $100,000 and $200,000—a lot of money at that time! Two people, Mrs. Thomas Taylor and James Smith drowned. Homes and farms were destroyed, gardens a total loss, the railroad was out of operation for three weeks, the course of the river changed, and the water pipe that fed the reservoir was washed away for 50 to 60 feet and 15 bridges were washed out.
The town board met to raise money to repair the damage to the highways. The Board authorized the supervisor to borrow $15,000 to help repair the highways and bridges. A footbridge was built across the Little Hoosick River for pedestrians.
It was said that had the flood occurred at a later hour (when residents were asleep) the loss of life would have been great.
Upper Left: Corner of Main and Elm Streets as water rushes down the Plank Road
Upper Right: A view on the Plank Road
Lower Left: The Hammond Brook damage on Plank Road
Lower Right: The footbridge for pedestrians on Elm Street