Tropical Storm Agnes savaged York County with more than 15 inches of rain

Elmer Ferlow recalls watching a man drown during the fury of Tropical Storm Agnes. Memories of the storm and its deadly aftermath are recorded as part of the York Daily Record/Sunday News “Remember” oral history series, where this video first appeared. (See flood photos below.) Background posts: ‘Picture Memories’ booklet: York County Flood of 1933 worst of record up to that point and Reader searching for Tropical Storm Agnes photos to use in children’s tour and In late June, things happen in York County and What is the probability of another flood in York?.
The list of events from York County’s past explored in an oral history series printed in the York Daily Record/Sunday News and then posted in a Web archive continues to grow.
Actually, they’re not real oral histories, as academics define them, with a rigorous Q & A format.
But you’ll find a rich repository of audio, video and written memories at the Remember site.
So far in 2009, local residents have given their memories of the 2008 election, Golden Venture, Invasion of Iraq, cigar factories and high school dances.
Today, the series covered Tropical Storm Agnes, the 1972 storm that dropped more than 15 inches of rain on York County.
We’ll tell the story here in a series of submitted photos that were published in the newspaper (6/22/09):

Indian Rock Dam’s impoundment formed a lake but did not deter extensive flooding downstream.
The storm damage cost just the City of York $10 million and displaced more than 100 city families.
The storm dropped 15 inches of rain over a wide region covering Pennsylvania from the Mason-Dixon Line to the New York State line.
Other topics in the “Remember” series:
– “Old” technology
– The Vietnam War
– The Great Depression
– The York Fair
– Phone booths and pay phones
– 1969 race riots
– Drive-in theaters
– World War II
– Baseball in York
– Panic at TMI
– First dates
– Blizzards of 1993 and 1996

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
This entry was posted in Archives, all posts, Bad weather, Events, For photo fans, Local journalism & Web, Mail bag, Nostalgia & memories. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Tropical Storm Agnes savaged York County with more than 15 inches of rain

  1. Stormbuster says:

    Sorry, but York Countians do, and always will, refer to it as Hurricane Agnes.

  2. I would like to talk with you about using the picture in which Leinhardt Bros. is visible to help illustrate an article on Hurricane Agnes in PA we have received for publication on the Literary and Cultural Heritage Map of Pennsylvania project, operated by the non-profit Pennsylvania Center for the Book. Please contact me at Thanks!

  3. Jim McClure says:

    Alan, please put your request in an e-mail to Donna Mandl,

  4. old codger says:

    Perhaps, looking on the positive side about “hurricane Agnes” we should remember that there would be no redevelopment/gentrification area on N. and S. Newberry,and in some of the other areas nearby, had not the floods made the substandard housing there uninhabitable and later available for restoration. One could say it is sad that the former residents were generally relocated and not able to return, but the work of ungrading that section of the city was certainly a plus for the city. Driving thru there now one sees charming, early homes, lovingly and expensively restored and not the terrible slum areas that previously existed. Perhaps a little more ” flooding” would open up other areas for restoration though i suspect in this economy few would have the money to risk upgrading anything in the city and that is sad, because at one time the city, with 60,000 residents was a vibrant, decent place to live. One hopes for a return to better times.

  5. Betsy Baird says:

    Regarding Hurricane Agnes: I mentioned yesterday about the road being
    built from West College Ave to York New Salem. Well, They were also making a bridge over the small (small ??) creek at the end of New Salem.
    When Agnes was, some people lived on a hill next to that creek. They tried
    to get out and away from the flood waters, too late. They never made it. I think both husband and wife were drowned. The flood waters of Indian Rock Dam had just been opened. Driving by, if you look, you will see gates now closing the road when flooding is imminent. Man is at the mercy of Mother (???) Nature at times like that.
    I couldn’t even get downtown to work for a couple days. Market St, Philadelphia, St, N. George St, Princess St., and I don’t know how many others
    were flooded. S. George St. at Colonial Shopping Center, ditto.
    Pipes burst around Violet Hill. People even up at Town & Country were without water and used what was in swimming pool to flush toilets. There was a line of people standing at Randolph Park Shopping Center waiting to
    get water to drink and wash with.

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