Bullitt County History

The Flood of 1937

In January 1937, flood waters of the Salt and Rolling Fork Rivers covered much of Bullitt County including Shepherdsville, Lebanon Junction and Pitts Point. In Shepherdsville the flood waters "submerged every home, store, the bank, the Court House, jail and all other buildings" according to the February 4, 1937 issue of the Jeffersonia, a local newspaper of Jeffersontown, Ky.

"On Saturday, January 23, the back water from the Ohio River backed up rapidly from West Point, causing such a rapid rise in the river that the people became alarmed and began to vacate their homes as fast as they could obtain wagons, buggies, automobiles and moving vans. By this time, panic stricken, the whole town became frantic."

We are in the process of collecting information about this flood, and will be adding links below to what we find. Check back frequently to see what we have added.

"Rivers and Floods" by Bennett Swenson
The United States Department of Agriculture Weather Bureau published the Monthly Weather Review from 1891-1966. In Volume 65, Issue 2 (February 1937), Bennett Swenson, who wrote monthly about rivers and floods, described the flood that covered the Ohio River Valley in January of that year. This link takes you to a pdf file that includes Mr. Swenson's seven page article. The file is approximately 1 megabyte in size. It is off-site, and you will have to use your BACK button to return here.
"The Ohio and Mississippi River Floods of January-February 1937"
This extensive supplement, also written by Mr. Swenson and published in Monthly Weather Review Supplement No. 37 by the Weather Bureau, goes into significant detail about these floods, and includes numerous charts. It is only recommended for those who wish to delve into the scientific data regarding the flood. Be warned: this pdf file is over 90 megabytes in size and will take awhile to download. It is also off-site.
1937 Flood as reported by Minnie Maraman
Minnie Maraman, who lost her husband in the 1917 Shepherdsville train wreck, wrote about her family and neighbors' experience with the 1937 flood. We have transcribed her story.
Drowning of Four, A Bullitt Flood Tragedy
On February 5, 1937, four people drowned when the car they were traveling in overturned in the swollen waters of Brooks Run. This is the story of that tragedy as reported in The Pioneer News. Links to images of the victims' death certificates are also provided.
A Letter from the Flood of 1937
This letter is said to have been written by Annie Laura Jenkins, wife of Russell Jenkins whose parents were Will and Blanche Jenkins. The letter is dated 24 Jan 1937. Russell's parents were killed in a drowning accident less than two weeks later on February 5th.
1937 Flood as reported by Sallie Pope
Miss Sallie Pope, who lived off Cedar Grove Road, wrote about the flood from her perspective on a knoll above the flood waters. Her remarks were printed in the 18 Feb 1937 issue of The Pioneer News. and are transcribed here with the permission of The Pioneer News.
1937 Flood as reported by Bob Moser
Recently Bob Moser recorded his memories of his older brother, Bill Moser, during the time of the 1937 Flood in Bullitt County; and of what it was like putting things back to normal after the flood. We have transcribed his account on this page.
1937 Flood - Remembered 50 Years Later
On February 18, 1987, fifty years to the day after the first publication of The Pioneer News after the great flood of 1937, the newspaper published a commemorative issue which included a facsimile of the original front page of that earlier paper, along with two pages of photos and a page written by John Roberts in which he interviewed six people who described what they remembered of the flood. Mr. Robert's article is transcribed here with the permission of The Pioneer News.
1937 Flood Pictures
Here are 40 pictures of the 1937 flood that have been collected by the History Museum. We hope to add information about the contents of the pictures in the future.
1937 Flood Pictures - A Slide Show
Here are the same 40 pictures of the 1937 flood in a slide show format for more convenient viewing.
Kentucky Water Babies
Photo and brief article about two babies born in '37 flood.

This is a work in progress. It is copyright 2008 by Charles Hartley, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.


If you, the reader, have an interest in any particular part of our county history, and wish to contribute to this effort, use the form on our Contact Us page to send us your comments about this, or any Bullitt County History page. We welcome your comments and suggestions. If you feel that we have misspoken at any point, please feel free to point this out to us.

The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 13 Jul 2015 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/flood1937.html