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By BETTY?POKAS, Times Leader Area Editor

March 17, 2011
Times Leader

HEADLINES in the March 19, 1936, issue of The Daily Times revealed part of the devastation wrought by the 1936 flood with the main headline being, "55.5 Crest Here" with a subhead of "More Than 50 Dead In Eastern Floods."

It was described as "the worst Ohio River flood in history" and it reached a crest of 55.5 feet at 3 p.m. the afternoon of March 19, remaining stationary for three hours.

The loss of life was considered low in this area, considering the height of the waters.

Article Photos

COVERING Second Street in Martins Ferry near the intersection of Hanover Street are floodwaters in 1936.

Another headline revealed that a dozen states from the Ohio Valley region to Maine were affected, and it was noted that cold and disease added to the menace in Johnstown, Pa.

The flood loss in Martins Ferry was described as "staggering."

Bellaire lacked water with the problem occurring the day before the flood hit, and trucks will hauling water from St. Clairsville, and farmers were taking water in milk cans to the city. Residents of West Wheeling, according to the newspaper, were vacating their homes, and people in Martins Ferry were urged to boil water. Powhatan Point was hard hit by the flood, according to another headline.

Martins Ferry Mayor Lee Woods issued a call for all available members of the American Legion to report to the city building that night at 6. Plans were to use them for special guard duty during the night.

Those are only some of the problems faced on the day that the flood occurred. Others would arise in the coming days.

Pokas can be reached at



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