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Flood of 1916 Exhibit

Asheville's railroad yard after the devasting Flood of 1916

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.

Find the Exhibit Near You in 2016 and 2017

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, So Great the Devastation: The 1916 Flood. The exhibit debuted at the History Museum of Catawba County in downtown Newton in March and will travel to 12 different natural and cultural institutions throughout the region during the rest of this year and in early 2017.

Here are the remaining stops currently scheduled:

Dates Venue City/Town
June 1-July 15 Pack Memorial Library Asheville
July 16 Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College Asheville
July 17-August 31 Belmont Historical Society Belmont
September 1-30 Lincoln County Historical Association, Mudy House Denver
October 1-31 Wilkes Heritage Museum Wilkesboro
November 1-30 Chimney Rock State Park Chimney Rock
December 1-31 Burke County Public Library Morganton
January 1-31, 2017 Iredell County Public Library Statesville
February 1-28, 2017 Elkin Public Library Elkin
March 1-31, 2017 New River State Park Laurel Springs

So Great the Devastation, The Book

To coincide with the exhibit, North Carolina Historical Publications released a short book exploring the flood and its lasting impact on the western part of the state.