New Exhibit Commemorates 100th Anniversary of Historic Flood

Devastation from the Flood of 1916. Image from State Archives.

Devastation from the Flood of 1916. Image from State Archives.

In mid-July 1916, the remnants of two hurricanes collided over western North Carolina, inundating the mountain region and the western Piedmont with historic rainfall.

The result was catastrophic. Landslides wiped out whole families. Currents ripped babies from their parents’ arms. Rivers washed away thousands of jobs. When the water finally receded, at least fifty lay dead, damages totaled in the millions of dollars, and a thick black sludge remained where crops once stood. The scope of the devastation was almost inconceivable.

Exhibit Examines Flood’s Impact

One hundred years later, the storm remains one of the worst ever experienced in the Tar Heel state. To commemorate the event, the North Carolina Office of Archives and History has developed a traveling exhibit that will visit 12 different venues throughout the region over the course of the next year.

The exhibit, entitled “So Great the Devastation: The 1916 Flood,” debuts at the History Museum of Catawba County in downtown Newton next Tuesday, March 1.

A schedule of the exhibit stops over the next six months appears in the table below. Click on the Venue name for directions.

Dates Venue City/Town
March 1 to March 31 History Museum of Catawba County Newton
April 1 to April 30 Madison County Public Library Marshall
May 1 to May 31 Mountain Gateway Museum Old Fort
June 1 to July 15 Pack Memorial Library Asheville
July 16 Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Asheville
July 17 to August 31 Belmont Historical Society Belmont
September 1 to September 30 Lincoln County Historical Association Lincolnton

4/22 Update -additional tour stops have been announced. Check out our website for the whole list.

Symposium to Take a Closer Look

As part of the commemorative initiatives, the Office will also be hosting a symposium on the flood at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College on July 16. We’ll announce more details about this landmark event as they become available.