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Remembering the Great Flood of 1916

Great Flood of 1916
Courtesy of
Great Flood of 1916

*This audio is no longer available.*

In July, 1916, one of the worst flooding events ever recorded in the United States took place right here in western North Carolina. The remnants of two hurricanes passed over the area, with the second storm dumping over 20 inches of rain in a day in some communities. Hundreds of mudslides swept away homes, farms, and lives. Transportation routes in and out of the mountains were obliterated. Cities and towns on riverbanks became submerged in the floodwaters at lightning speed, leaving citizens clinging to trees and stranded on top of buildings as they prayed for rescue.

What led to this disaster? How did the area recover? Could something like this happen again?

July 11th - 14th, at around 8:45 each day during Morning Edition, WNCW will present the four-part documentary Come Hell or High Water: Remembering the Great Flood of 1916, based on the film by David Weintraub and the Center for Cultural Preservation in Hendersonville. The audio documentary is produced and edited by WNCW's Kim Clark.

More oral histories about the 1916 flood, information about the documentary, its screening schedule,  and DVD are available at