Perhaps you have heard that Hurricane Agnes hit our area on Tuesday evening.  We went to the show in Wellsville after having supper at the Texas Hot restaurant.  At this time it was just beginning to sprinkle.  When we came out of the show (it was about 9 p.m.), it was raining harder but nothing unusual.  Well, it must have poured all night.  At 7 a.m. on Wednesday, I had a phone call saying that school was closed because of flooding.
Photo from Evening Tribune Newspaper clipping.  Submitted by Jean Lang, Town of Alfred Historian
We looked out at our pond and it was at capacity level with a five foot stream of water going down the spillway. The ditch diverting water into the pond was a stream. We put on boots and walked around the pond on top of the dam. We could see from there that our garden was o.k. An hour later we decided to go down town and see how the college was faring.

Bob Codispoti, who lives (at the bend in the stream) at the foot of our hill, was wading and shoveling, attempting to divert the water around his house. Pat, his wife, and their boy had gone to Barb Dirlam’s. Siedlins and Mrs. Lebohner at Terrace Street had been evacuated. Near Randall’s, on our hill, the water was pouring over the road like a waterfall. O’Hara’s lawn was a lake.

Parts of the pavement were lifted and the water was coming out of the storm sewers like a fountain.  Debris was all over.  A tree was down by the dentist’s office on north Main Street.  Water was pouring into the lower shop door near the barns.

The closer we drove toward Alfred Station, the worse conditions became.  The shoulders of the roads were gone in many places and the asphalt at the approaches to bridges was being eroded due to the force of the water.

Where the Kanakadea Creek makes the big bend near Alfred Station, the water was still at the top of the wall.  The little league field was gone, including the bridge.

Conderman’s store was protruding over the bank of the creek.  The street at Alfred Station looked like a creek bed with debris all over, including rocks and silt.

Going out of Alfred Station toward Hornell there are two places, each about 400 feet long, where the road on one side has dropped into the stream because of erosion.  The railroad track at these points is suspended over the edge of the bank because of the soil foundation which has fallen into the water.

Claire Randolph said it was reported that John Ide and Aimee (one of my kindergartners) were drowned in Almond.  This proved to be true.  She was a darling and had been at school the day before.  She had drawn a picture for me to keep.  They haven’t found the bodies yet.  It truly is just so awful.  Aimee was a little athlete.  She could stand on her head for a long time and turn cart-wheels.  Also, she could run like a deer.  I have her folder with her work and promotion certificate all ready to give to her.  Such a tragedy in a world where so many people who do wrong and are allowed to live!

As the road was gone, we could ride no further and so returned home.  Later in the afternoon we went toward Wellsville.  Farmer’s fields were washed out and new creeks were formed in the middle of them.  Silt covered many of the lawns.  At one place where the water had been going across the road, rocks were piled like shingles on a roof.  Farther on, the water was still crossing at such a rate that we stopped and went back.  People at this point said you couldn’t get to Wellsville anyway.

It rained all day Wednesday and most of the night.  Almond village was evacuated.  About 500 or more people stayed at our central school.  The university sent blankets but they needed more so we started a telephone chain on the hill and Tech’s Security man made three trips over a back road to take the collection of blankets.

Thursday a.m., our pond’s overflow had stopped.  Then it began raining again.  We and the Huntingtons went to Wellsville in our high water jeep over the rushing stream.  All the way over the story was the same.  Some streams had widened their beds many times and more farmer’s fields were ruined.  The shoulders of the roads were down as much as four feet all along.

The Big N Plaza parking lot had six feet of water and the water had carried a mobile home from one side of the lot to the other.  The viaduct near there was minus a road under it.  Driveways were washed out.  A pile of logs by the Wellsville High School was across the road in every which way.  At the Vocational section of the college (at Wellsville), the water had gone into some of the buildings.  The dark room for photography was filled to the ceiling with water.  Dad said that about $350,000 worth of machinery was ruined.

Some bridges were out in Wellsville.  It is estimated that $15 million worth of bridges are gone in Steuben County alone.  The Genesee River had eroded one corner of the foundation of the Wellsville hospital.  Since then that wing has gone into the river.  Forty telephone and electric poles were down in Wellsville.  The golf club had built an additional part across the river.  All that was left was the bridge.

We came back through Alfred Station and drove in 4-wheel drive through the mud to the central school; we got permission from the men stationed there.  There is a school bus stationed across the road at the farther driveway so no one can get to Almond.  Cars and trailers lined the driveways way up to the bus barns on both sides.  People were all over the school.  The usually spic and span main office looked like a press room with coffee cups, etc., strewed around.  Lines were formed to get food.  Helicopters were bringing food to the school.  One kindergarten was turned into a nursery.

I went to my room and there was a man sleeping on a cot.  It turned out it was Winnie Mensinger’s stepfather.  She called me from school to tell me that she was feeding my fish.  I saw some of my kids.  They seemed to be having a ball.  Everyone looked bedraggled.

Stewarts were building a house on the old road to Almond and they lost all their lumber and foundation plus the house in which they lived.  Almond is a mess.  There is no flood insurance either.

The helicopter had to take the principal’s son to the hospital with a broken wrist, Thursday p.m.  There is a 1000 acre lake formed because of the southern expressway construction, part of which goes by the edge of Almond.  We just heard that this temporary dam in eroding.  (Now they are slowly draining it.)

Incidentally, it is still pouring.  Tom and Jenny are on their way here.  They called from John and Carol’s.  We advised them to go by way of Buffalo.

The radio announced just now that Olean should brace itself for the worst flood in history.  Canisteo, south of Hornell, is hard hit.  In fact, the whole of Southern New York State is declared a disaster area.  I am surely glad that we live at an altitude of nearly 2400 feet.  We do have water coming down our fireplace chimney.  Rog covered it just now in the pouring rain and wind.  Charley Love just came for all the coffee we have as the school needs it.  A house burned at Five Corners.

Tom and Jenny arrived at 6:30 having been one of the last cars to go over the road at Caneadea.  The water was lapping over the road as they drove through.

Monday, June 26, 1972.

Friday noon we heard that you could go toward Belmont so we decided to head for Canada as Tom has not been there.  We stopped at the bridge in Belmont by Dr. Schwertz’s house.  The water was roaring and tumbling like the river below the Niagara Falls.  The house across from Schwertzes’ lost their swimming pool and so much of the bank that their foundation is exposed to the river.

The bridge on Schuyler Street (main street of town), had water going over the top of the railing the night before and the bed of the river had widened into a lake.  Some men had been called to the fire hall Wednesday morning to help in various places and when they came back, their cars that they had parked there, had gone down the river, including a Lincoln Continental.

The farms from Wellsville to Caneadea are a mess.  They are made up of mostly river bottom land.  Now trees, old cars, rocks, etc., are all over the once loamy rich soil plus the fact that banks are washed away and new twists and turns are formed by the water.

The weary Erie railroad is a mess.  On the railroad bridge at Belmont, freight cars filled with rocks were placed to hold the bridge.  Part of the track is twisted and the earth underneath washed away.  This is between Belmont and Belvidere.  We detoured around Rushford Lake and from then on you wouldn’t know there was much of a storm.

On Sunday night, crew men had bulldozed earth at bridge approaches and we drove down the main street of Wellsville so Tom and Jenny could see the area.  The bridge by the Wellsville hospital is gone.  The Elm Valley bridge approaches on Route 17 had been washed out and filled with rocks and earth so it was passable.  This was true of all the bridges up the Elm Valley road toward our house.

Bea and Al Lorrow’s chicken house, with the chickens in it, went down the creek plus a 70-foot mobile home.  Sandy Perry’s parent’s mobile home was twisted and loosened.  Sally Smith Doty’s new home had water in the lower floor.  Donna Ryan’s swimming pool had rocks and fish in it.

Of course, Painted Post, Corning, Elmira, Wilkes-Barre, and other places have much more damage, but they did have a warning.  Almond had none.  The people on Main Street had ten minutes to get out.  People had to leave their pets when they were evacuated to school.  They were allowing one member per family to go by police car and pick up clothes, etc.

Helicopters have been all over.  One landed food at Alfred-Almond.  They had to take an expectant mother to the hospital last night.  One helicopter crashed in the Crosby Creek area killing three men.  It hit a wire.

It was announced that $93 million is allotted in the National Emergency Fund and they figure two billion dollars are needed in New York State alone.  The National Guard has taken over the motels in Wellsville.  It was announced that Agnes has caused 117 deaths so far.

They postponed graduation at Alfred-Almond indefinitely.  No report cards have been given out and registers are not done, plus other year-end duties—cleaning, etc.  Because of my decision to retire (I sent my letter this a.m.), I had finished cleaning but still had my register to do and folders to give to the children on their last day.  I never did say goodbye to any of them.

On Tuesday, my class had given me a beautiful gold pin with my initials and “Class of 1971-1972” engraved on it.  This was just a farewell gift for the year as they didn’t know that I am retiring.  The children had all signed a card on the previous Friday.  One of my homeroom mothers had brought it to the cafeteria where they all signed so I wouldn’t know about it.  Aimee signed, too.

It is still a cloudy sky over our area but, once in awhile, the sun shines through.


Jo & Rog

“Mom & Dad”

“Grandma & Grandpa”

P.S.  A baby girl named Kristina Michelle Alfreda Snyder was born during the flood days at the Alfred University Infirmary.

By Dr. & Mrs. Roger F. Rawe