The newspapers, television news and radio, are all telling us about the terrible flooding around the country. It is really bad.

I remember well, the 1937 Ohio river flood.

Folks, you know that I fool around a lot, but this story is gospel.

At the time, we, my father, mother and three sisters, were living with my paternal grandmother, Emma Belle Martin Ware, in Owensboro.

We lived in an apartment in down town Owensboro, 107 ½ W. Third Street.

This was over a shop where the owner, Mr Vestal, gave music lessons, on violin and piano.

I remember “Humoresque” on the violin, hours on end, as played by students.

The flood knocked out power early on, but we managed somehow.

Directly across the street was the Seville Theater, shut down and boarded up.

Playing on the marquee, was the movie, “Ramona.”  It stayed there whole time during the flood. I still don’t know what the movie was about.

The water got to the curb on the opposite side of the street before subsiding.

We were only three blocks from the river front, but on a higher  elevation, and I recall the street being littered with trash brought up by the water.

About a week into the flood, a terrible odor began to permeate the neighborhood. Given the conditions at the time, I suppose no one paid much attention to it.

However, as it got worse, investigation into the matter began in earnest!

Around the corner from us, on St Anne Street, was a vacant Chevrolet garage, and, aha! The source of the odor!

It seems my Dad and some of his pals were cooking turnips for wine in a large vat hidden in the garage! Is turnip wine the same as moonshine?

There were no charges, they were just made to clean up the mess!

That was a REAL community service!

The odor was gone in a few days.

Yes, I remember the flood of ‘37!

RW- 4/6/10


OHIO RIVER FLOOD OF 1937 — 1 Comment

  1. In 1937, I was two years old living high and dry in Central Indiana. I have read about that flood and others. I’m not sure about turnip wine although it should have been sweet enough. 😉 Thank you Ray.


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