Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Flood Remains! A Perfect Spot To Metal Detect (Milton Flood of 1927)

Excerpts from Vermont In Floodtime – 1927 Flood
(Lamoille Valley)

“The Lamoille River and its ordinarily peaceful valleycontributed their toll to the flood loss. In that section four persons lost their lives, dams broke loose, arailroad was disorganized, industry suffered grievously and scores of homeswere washed away…

(Scene when Bridge went out Nov 4th 1927)

Surging on, the Lamoille carried away the bridge in theVillage of Milton, (pictured Left) the building of the Franklin County Trust Co., the Star Theatre operated by Earl Bevins,(Pictured Below Left) thewheel-wright shop of H.C. Bevins and Kennedy’s store. Orvis Mayvilles’ big brick house with all itsfurniture was undermined and crashed. All buildings in this section of the Village, up to the general store ofO.S. Phelps & Co., which was saved by the construction of a coffer dam,were wiped out. The safes and valuablesin the bank were removed.

(People watching Kennedy's store disappear. 1927)

On the lower end of River Stree, houses… were either movedfrom their foundations or otherwise badly demolished, in many cases with completefurnishings…Barns and shops in connection with these buildings went also. The houses on the river side of the road weredamaged more extensively than those on the opposite side.

Houses flooded in the 1927 Milton Flood

The bridge at West Milton was the only one usable for a longdistance up the stream. Much debrisaccumulated at this bridge. Parts ofhouses, bridges, and all kinds of wreckage caught on the piers and once a partof a house was seen floating down the river with a bed set up—all made up.

(Isaac Howard's Barns)

At West Milton the Deslaureau barns went out partially andIsaac Howard’s were turned around. Thehorses and cattle on these two farms and on the Clark farm, about 160 in all,were drowned with the exception of a few young cattle on the Clark farm. All the stock in Granger’s store wasdestroyed. All the residents along theriver were compelled to flee with scarcely time to save anything on the groundfloors of their homes.

On abutment of the State bridge over the Lamoille on the wayto Grand Isle was shattered, but the bridge did not go down.

Soon after the disaster, Red Cross workers reached Miltonand rendered material assistance to the stricken town. Funds were provided to supply all needed foodand clothing.”

Excerpts from St. Albans Weekly Messenger

….The Lamoille River overflowed its banks for a vicinity ofabout a mile doing damage that will amount to thousands of dollars…

(Aerial Photo of the flood of 1927 Milton, VT)

…Many farms, buildings, and barns were swept down the River inthe vicinity of the Villages…

(Barns and homes in Milton)

Excerpts from Burlington Daily News

(November 4, 1927)

“…Furniture in their homes were either badly damaged orswept away by the high water.

When the crest of the flood hit the hollow, it swept thebridge down into the gorge below and the mass of wreckage and the pressure ofwaters toppled the brick building known as the Bevine Block and containing theVillage movie theatre. At the same time,the building housing the Kennedy store was wiped out. In all, four buildings were a total loss andthere is every indication that most of the ten or a dozen other houses damagedare beyond repair.”

(Milton vt street scene 1927)

By using the information given about the devastating flood of 1927, one would conclude that the river valley area should hold some very interesting finds. As the waters washed away buildings and homes in the raging rivers, items from the time would have been deposited around the area. If you were to locate any such items they would have to be at least from the 1920's. Always ask permission before using your metal detector on another person's property. This is not the only town that was affected by the flood of 1927. There were quite a few locations along rivers that were impacted in a similar way. Do a little research in your area. A trip to the library might uncover quite a few opportunities for potential areas to use your metal detector.

Below are some before and after images of the flood of 1927 taken from the air. Don't forget to check out our website at

(Milton VT Flood of 1927 Aerial Photo)

(Milton, VT 2005 Aerial Photo of same location as above.)

(Milton VT Flood of 1927 Aerial Photo)
(Milton, VT 2005 Aerial Photo of same location as above.)


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