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The West Thompson Dam
The Hurricane and Flood of 1938
Memories of West Thompson
Rampaging Waters
The Hurricane of 1938
Controlling the Elements
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~ The 1938 Hurricane and Flood ~

Courtesy of Thompson Historical Society

In September of 1938, Hurricane Diane bellowed up the eastern coast of the United States. Lingering around the New England region, the large amounts of rainfall resulted in a flood followed by high speed winds.


Before West Thompson residents had even experienced the direct impact of the hurricane, they had already lost multiple buildings to the floodwaters. The hurricane winds also caused a trail of destruction, resulting in several churches losing their steeples. Huge trees were completely uprooted from the ground and wooden lots were destroyed. Homes were carried away by the raging waters.


The very landscape of the village was altered by the powerful water streams. A pond formed where the homes of the Gendreau family and the LaCoille family had once stood. Another pond formed just across the street. Both of these ponds were permanent until the West Thompson Lake covered them in the mid-1960s.


Red Cross officials aided those in need, providing water, food, and temporary shelter. The Red Cross also built the Gendreau family a new home because theirs had been washed away.


Other Thompson residents found refuge in the Old Town Hall for several weeks, pushing the wooden benches together to form temporary beds. Those whose homes had survived had difficulty obtaining food because many of the roads were blocked off by debris. Interestingly enough, the old West Thompson dam was demolished following this flood because officials believed this would help prevent future flooding problems.

Courtesy of Thompson Historical Society

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