A Dialogue About History: The Flood of 1955

Student Question

How did Lambertville and the surrounding areas recover after the devastating flood of 1955, from Hurricanes Connie and Diane?

Residents’ Answers

  • I was 13 years old at the time of the 1955 flood. I do remember standing on the corner of Bridge Street and North Union Street and looking down both toward the river at the end of Bridge Street and down South Union Street when the Acme was(now the Justice Center). The water was almost to the intersection. I also remember the tragic loss of boy scouts who were on an island in the river at the time of the flood. My recollection is that everyone worked together to get things cleaned up and move on.
  • Clean up was difficult. Fire companies, Rescue Squad members, family members, many others working together and months of work until normality was possible.
  • Point Pleasant NEVER recovered. The bridge was destroyed and was not rebuilt.
  • Many years passed. People with money came to town and liked the old houses, which they renovated. Real estate values rose, and poor people were forced out of town.
  • Infrastructure was out for a long time. Morgue was behind Van Horn-McDonough Funeral Home and the bodies were there in the garage. Civil Defense worked with doctors to make sure diseases didn’t flair up.

Student Response

As far as the Flood of 1955, which was more regional [than other issues the student raised in other questions], the negative impact was felt by all of those in its path, irrespective of their background. This event and many others hurt the town, but it also brought the community together because of the shared experience.

After reviewing the responses from the Historical Society, it was not shocking that national events did not have a large impact on day to day life in Lambertville. A similar response would probably be given by residents of the city today about the happenings around the country and world. However, events that are more localized, like flooding, cause a deeper reaction and need for action. As flooding has unfortunately become more of a normal occurrence in this river town, it is also something that will continue to bring together its residents, help them bond over shared experiences, and come up with ways to mitigate these problems.