The Flood of 1927

The flood of 1927 was the first of four majors floods that occurred in North Adams from 1927-1949

After weeks of rainy October weather, on November 3rd, 1927, the Hoosic River began to swell beyond its banks. Ashland and State Street were the first to flood, and soon the northern branch of the river joined the waters of the southern. As Brown Street, River Street, and the surrounding areas became inundated with rushing water, North Adams resident Cornelius Von Steemburg’s grocery and residence was swept away.

The Holden Street bridge was also destroyed, as well as a number of homes on River Street and a garage, a burlap factory, stable, and ten homes housing 18 families in Willow Dell. What remained of these houses floated down the river and later formed a dam of debris at the Union Street bridge. This blockage redirected the water flowing in that direction onto Union Street and into the city center. Brooklyn Street was ravaged bot by the Hoosic itself, but by a nearby Hoosic tributary, Wheeler Brook. Similarly, Wood Street in Blackinton was damaged heavily by Sherman Brook.

Despite the havoc wreaked by the local waterways, the local fire department and policy, Company K of the Massachusetts National Guard, and even civilians responded when residents were washed away or threatened by the raging waters. Through their combined effort, not a single life was lost in the flood. This was the first of four major floods that North Adams endured from 1927-1949.

Adapted from a story for the North Adams Historical Society.