Newspaper documented devastation after 1937 flood

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Crest of 72.75 feet reached at Milton January 26

February 25, 1937-the most disastrous flood in the 138 years of this country’s history crested at 72.75 feet on Tuesday, January 26 and on Wednesday, January 27, began a slow recession of .1 of a foot an hour and by the week of February 8 the Main Street business section of Milton, the farm homes in Cooper’s and Trout and Hunter’s bottoms, the business section of Wises Landing, and the rural community of Patton’s Creek were clear of water and the work of restoring normal activities was begun.

Every store and place of business and 64 houses in the town proper in Milton were flooded, the majority of which suffered complete inundation. The home of the Milton editor of the Trimble Democrat, Mr. Chas. A. Barclay, was the only two-story residence in the town with a dry upper story. At the time of the 1884 flood water stood 5 inches deep on the first floor of this home and when the water was on a stand during the recent flood only seven inches of space separated the rampaging river from the second story floor. Many of the homes were completely submerged and the roofs of others could be seen protruding above the water.

Stay at Posts
With the exception of a few hours, from Sunday to Tuesday, prior to the crest of the flood, the Milton telephone operators three in number, maintained service at the exchange on a few remaining lines. During the period of evacuation of the office the keys to three lines were opened and service on these lines was continued.

A temporary line was strung across the bridge and communication to the north was established. This was one of the few lines that spanned the Ohio throughout its length.

Complete service has not as yet been restored, although the Bell Telephone Company is restoring service as fast as is humanly possible under the existing circumstances.

Housed in School

More than fifty families, composing 105 persons, of the flooded Milton area were housed in the school building in temporary quarters. Other refugees in this area were taken to the homes of friends and relatives.

The general store of Hamilton & Wingham had temporary quarters in the Milton School gymnasium and supplies were secured for those in greatest need.

Food, Supplies by Barge

Food and supplies were brought into the county by way of skiffs from the Kentucky approach of the Milton-Madison Bridge and loaded into trucks for the distribution to the general stores in the county.

The United States District Engineers office at Cincinnati, Oho, ordered the construction of ramps and a barge to open the Milton-Madison bridge in order that government equipment and relief supplies could be moved to the needed points in the south. This service was established Friday following the crest of the flood on Wednesday,

This barge served the people of Trimble County by ferrying trucks laden with foodstuffs. It is stated that this was the only crossing for hundreds of miles up and down the Ohio.