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Damage to city alone believed to be million, page 3, 3-18-1936

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(Continued from Page One)

and carrying danger to life and destruction of property in its wake.

Gas Service Continues

All during the night and clay in the flooded area as well as in the rest of Cumberland, its gas supply continued on, an untold blessing for heat and cooking. The Cumberland & Allegheny Gas Company, due to arrangement of its supply mains and connection with feeder mains, was able to continue that necessary utility without diminution.

Electric Light Maintained

H. W. Price, manager of the Potomac Edison Company, in commenting upon the condition of that utility and its public service departments, said:

"The River plant has been flooded since 3 p. m., Tuesday, but we had two lines, one 132,000 volt and another a 66,000 volt transmission line from our power plants at Williamsport, Md., and the Lake Lynn plant on Cheat River, in West Virginia, in use. Direct current consumers were given service from our Union street sub-station, which was not flooded.

Bus Service Curtailed

"In regard to our bus service, with traffic cut off in the flooded zone, especially on Centre and Mechanic street due to the flood waters blocking the Will's Creek bridges, buses were kept moving on the East Side of Centre street, and on the West Side. Buses ran on improvised schedules and routes until after midnight. Buses remained parked on the street and resumed service this morning. Our employes rendered efficient service s under the most trying conditions."

City Engineer's Views

In commenting on the flood catastrophe, City Engineer Henry W. Schaidt, was of the opinion « that it was a condition that nothing could have averted.

"This conclusively proves to me that the City of Cumberland cannot individually do anything which would prevent a catastrophe like that which occurred in Cumberland yesterday. This will have to be a joint project between Maryland. West Virginia and Pennsylvania, aided by the Federal Government. I feel too bad for the stricken people in this vicinity to say anything more at this time."

Water Service Restored

Peter J. Schultz, city plumber, this afternoon stated that the water supply, cut off late yesterday by a broken main, has been restored. He asked all consumers to conserve the supply, for the next two days in order to permit the reservoirs to fill.

Two 12-inch mains were cut in to the West side at 10:30 a. m. The East Side of the city is now supplied by the new Bedford road feed main.

Police At Stein's

Because its phone system was inoperative with the basement of the City Hall filled, the Police Department moved out. The Louis Stein Company, Frederick street, tendered the use of its offices and telephone. Mayor George W. Legge remained at this temporary office with members of the City Council.

Chief of Police Oscar A. Eyerman with Commissioner of Police and Fire Harry W. Matheney, remained in their offices in the City Hall.

It was announced that additional special policemen had been sworn in and would go on duty tonight.

Street Department At Work

Before the waters had subsided this morning, Commissioner of Streets Edgar Reynolds had his organization and trucks, augmented by additional men, distributed at points where clean-up work could get underway. Gangs worked removing collection of debris at various points.

Arthur H. Hungerford, state WPA director, authorized immediate return to work of 200 WPA employes who will assist in removing debris.

Locust Grove, about two miles west of Cumberland, appears to be the worst hit of any nearby community. The settlement, which contains about 24 houses, is a scene of destruction today with at least four families left homeless as their houses were washed away by the surging waters of Will's creek yesterday.

The welfare association of LaVale School has taken charge of the stricken inhabitants and last night fed and clothed about 45 persons ranging from babies a few months old to old persons. The work will continue several days until the residents of the section are able to return to their homes.

This morning the children were huddled into the auditorium of the school where they were being cared for. Fathers, mothers and the older children returned to the section to begin the work of cleaning up.

Four Homes Washed Away

At least four homes were washed away and many others were undermined. The mud is four feet thick in places and a man who sank in the mire this morning was not hauled out until after assistance was given by neighbors.

About half the residents remained in their homes. As the water got higher some left the one-story dwellings and moved to the homes of neighbors with a second story. And all through the night small groups huddled together in the darkness praying to be saved.

The Frostburg Fire Department brought boats and canoes to the scene but they were of no use in the surging, muddy waters. One house contained a blind man and several other aged persons, but they remained on the second floor throughout the disaster and were found safe this morning.

The horror of the black night and the noise of the rushing waters drove several persons to distraction. One woman reported she was in a neighbor's home when something struck the house and for several minutes they all believed they would be washed down the creek.

Community Isolated

The bridge leading from the National Highway to Locust Grove was washed out as was part of the Cumberland and Pennsylvania Railroad bridge. The only way to reach the community is to walk the trestle or jump from tie to tie on the remains of the C. & P. structure.

A man by the name of Drewnoski, 71 years old, stood in the water all night, his two dogs clutched next to his chest. He was rescued this morning by State's Attorney William A. Huster, County Investigator Terence J. Boyle and State Police and brought to safety on a B. & O. gasoline speeder.

The creek through the Narrows was several feet over the road and today autos are ploughing through the mud.

The Western Maryland Railway bridge at the head of North Mechanic street is washed out. A side track of the railroad is also gone too and several cars loaded with coal dropped into the creek. The warehouse of the American Oil Company as well as several oil tanks were washed away. Telephone poles and wires are down and telephone service to La Vale is cut off.

The Braddock Farm section of LaVale was turned into a river hut no serious injuries were reported. Despite several reports to the contrary all of the residents of Locust Grove have been accounted for.

Work Trains Busy

The main line of the Baltimore and Ohio railroad through the Narrows has been undermined and only work trains are running. In some places tracks have been torn up and twisted like wire. Embankments along the railroad as it rounds the curve at Locust Grove are out and many cars have upset into the creek.

One railroad bridge about 50 feet long between Cumberland and Hyndman is washed out and at Hyndman the destruction to railroad property has been great.

A retaining wall about one quarter of a mile from Hyndman gave way about 2 p. m. yesterday and a wall of water, about four feet high, rushed down to the town. Several persons who saw the flood coming made an attempt to reach higher ground hut were caught after moving a few feet. No serious injuries were reported.

The ballast under the tracks at Hyndman has been washed away to a depth of five feet and Route No. 96 from Hyndman to Bedford has been washed out. At Hyndman where the highway crosses the railroad there is nothing left but a deep gorge and the skeleton tracks.

Mt. Savage road between the turnoff below Narrows Park and Corriganville was covered by four feet of water and several slides have filled the highway with stone and earth, making one-way traffic necessary.


Page #:

Cumberland Evening Times


Collection Location:
LaVale, Maryland

Floods, Maryland, Cumberland, History; Cumberland (Md.),History.

Western Maryland, 1936

Western Maryland Regional Library
100 South Potomac Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740

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