The Flood of 1955, Torrington

On August 18, 1955 a Headline in the Torrington Register read “Diane is on her last Legs. Well-behaved Hurricane Just a Windy Storm.”  That was the last headline the Register printed until August 26th. The well-behaved Diane was anything but and when she was through Torrington had been devastated and its landscape changed forever. Diane ended up dropping 14.25 inches of rain in Torrington over a 36 hour period. That was only five days after Hurricane Connie dropped 4-6 inches throughout the state.

The rain filled the rivers of Connecticut until the rivers filled the streets taking cars, buildings and lives before moving on down to the next town to share more water, debris and destruction. The Naugatuck River with its east Branch starting at Lake Winchester and its west branch in Western Torrington before joining just north of East Albert Street in Torrington was not to be outdone by the states other rivers. Torrington was the first town to experience its ambitions with center square buildings flooded with six feet of water, being the lucky ones as others were torn and ripped open by the raging water. Bridges were added to the casualty list with the river leaving debris and mud as a reminder of its downtown visit.

Below are some of the photos from the Connecticut State Library. The Torrington Register has many more pictures on-line of the flood.

The rain started on the 18th and gave hints of what was to come as some streets in the southeast section of towns were already flooding as evidenced by these Torrington Manufacturing workers being given rides to their cars by youths on bicycles.

Torrington the day before the flood

And warnings of future damage were there also as this photo of a property on Sharon Avenue on the 18th shows.

Torrington Sharon Avenue damage on the 18th

But that was nothing compared to one day later. Here is a photo identified as Center Square and date August 21, 1955. If you look in the background you can see what appears to be Coe park which would mean this photo was taken from Main Street, looking towards South Main over the area where the bridge connecting them used to be.

Torrington Flood center square

Somewhere under the crushed car and rubble is Franklin Street

Torrington looking down Franklin Street

 

This is a hotel on South Main Street. It was also visible from another angle in the previous photo.

Torrington A hotel in Center Square area before demolition

 

(To be continued)

In the mean time if you would like to see some videos of the flood there are a couple on my Connecticut flood page.