1927 Flood in Richmond

Between the 2nd and 4th of November, a convergence of weather systems over Central Vermont dropped about 8 inches of rain on the Winooski River watershed.  The rain fell continuously for 45 hours, about double what is normally expected of a storm of this nature.Aerial view of downtown Richmond, taken one week after 1927 flood.  Note the bridge knocked off its moorings in the river.  An unusually wet October had left the ground saturated and waterways full to capacity.  The November rainstorm caused prolonged and severe flooding throughout the region. 

In Jonesville, the flood crested at 4 am on Friday, November 4th, with water as much as 20 feet deep reported in homes and businesses near the river.  Richmond Village saw flooding to a depth of 6 feet.  Though flooding and damage were much worse in upstream towns such as Waterbury and Bolton, the 1927 storm left a costly burden on the people of Richmond and indelible memories for those who lived through it.


Ferry across Winooski next to what's left of the Bridge Street bridge
Thomas O'Neil, aged 5 at the time of the flood, recalls how he, his family and out-of-town visitors were stranded on the upper floor of their home along the south bank of the Winooski River:

"...there were 18 of us in all in 1 large bedroom at the top of the stairs.  If the water had come up one more step it would have gone onto the second  floor.... We were cold and scared.  More scared than anything else.  We'd wake up in the morning and see all that stuff floating down....  We were there for 3 days.  Row boats came up to the porch roof and we went out the second story window."

Cleaning up after the flood in Jonesville

Total flood damage in Richmond was estimated at $235, 000.  This includes the destruction of two bridges across the Winooski and significant damage to roads and highways. 

 In Jonesville, two woodworking plants suffered heavy damage, the 240-foot covered bridge across the river was swept away, residences and businesses near the river filled up with silt-laden floodwater, and several people had to be evacuated.

In Richmond Village, homes along Esplanade Street near the river were inundated, as was the Borden Condensed Milk factory.  Floodwaters filled the basement of the town school, causing $2000 worth of damage and forcing the school to remain closed until December 5.  The iron truss bridge near the Round Church was also knocked off its moorings and settled in the river just downstream. 

Farms in the floodplain experienced devastating loss of livestock, and the Vermont Central Railroad was rendered impassible for several months.



Bridge Street bridge after the flood Theodore Bressor, aged 13 at the time, was one of 19 people (along with horses, pigs and chickens) to take refuge in his grandparents' home on the high ground adjacent to the Bridge Street bridge.

"In the darkness and with the roar of the water as it rushed through the trees, we could not hear as the O'Brien  house, horse barn and chicken houses disappeared down the river.  Nor did we hear as the Benway house...and Martin house, blacksmith shop and carpentry shop...also disappeared into the night.  We did hear as the bridge was pushed from its abutments, but even though it was only thirty feet away we could not see it...."


Clean up crew in Richmond, VT after 1927 flood