In January 1937, the Ohio River Valley was hit by a massive flood. Unfortunately for the inhabitants of Ironton, the city lies on a high flood plain which is 5,000 feet wide upstream and 2, 500 feet wide downstream. This led to major flooding throughout the city. Seventy-five percent of Ironton was underwater for ten days. Over this time period, 3,000 dwellings, 295 stores, 12 schools, 1 hospital, and 15 industrial establishments were flooded. Of the approximately 16,621 residents of Ironton, 13,300 were displaced by the flood waters.  Four mercantile buildings collapsed either during the flood or resulting from the floods. However, only one person died.
    By the time the water crested, the river level had reached seventy feet and six inches in Ironton. Fifty feet is considered flood stage in Ironton. Although the 1937 flood was not the first or last flood, it has gone down in the history books as one of the worst. For those who remember the 1997 flood, it pales in comparison to the 1937 flood. In 1997, the river crested at 60.79 feet in Ashland, Kentucky, over ten feet less than in 1937.
     Because of the damage resulting from the flood, a flood protection project began in January of 1939. The results were flood walls and levies built to protect Ironton from future flooding.
     If you would like more information on any of the floods effecting Ironton, you will find books, newspaper accounts, and other resources in the Phyllis Hamner Room. 

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Photographs from 1937 Flood from Ironton 575.46 KB