For generations of Louisvillians, the 1937 flood was much more than a historical event. It was a watershed. And hundreds, maybe thousands, grew up on the stories of good humor, courage and endurance that marked the months of January and February 1937.
Rick Bell, who is overseeing the restoration of the Marine Hospital in Portland, has pulled all of these emotions, as well as many, many facts together, quite remarkably, in his new book, The Great Flood of 1937. For those who care about our city, and its history, this is an indispensable book.
(It is also the third significant contribution to local history in recent months by Butler Books of Louisville, which published Louisville Then and Now and Brandeis at 150 in 2006.)
In a comprehensive, yet breezy text, with an outstanding collection of photographs, Bell recreates the weeks of seemingly endless sacrifice. Remember, the flood came at one of the lowest points of the Great Depression. Louisville and other cities already were suffering; the rains of January 1937 only made matters much worse.
Those who lived through the flood, those whose families survived to tell the stories and those for whom it was merely a historical event will welcome The Great Flood of 1937.
(From the Courier-Journal)