Sunday, September 9, 2012

Route 20 Flood on Buffalo Road in 1947

Buffalo Road was flooded on April 5, 1947. Photo from "Greetings from Wesleyville" Vol. 1 book by Debbi Lyon.
Torrential rains on April 5, 1947 sent rivers of water down side streets across eastern Erie and Erie County, PA, flooding a swath of land between Route 20 and the railroad tracks. Buffalo Road in Wesleyville was one of the hardest hit areas, as you can see in the photo above. The long string of connected buildings served as a dam, and the water soon rose high enough to cover the roadway and seep under front doors. Basements quickly filled with water. Firemen and business owners smashed out basement windows on the north side of these buildings to allow the water to escape, fearing the mounting pressure of the water would sweep away buildings like in did in the great Millcreek Flood in 1915.

Schaffner's Esso Station on Buffalo Road and Willow Street was one of those hardest hit by the flooding. Cans of oil floated in the basement, stripped of their labels. Grocery and meat stores had to throw away their inventory.

The stores in the photo above run from about 2926 to 3020 Buffalo Road in Wesleyville, just east of Erie, PA on Route 20. Most of the buildings still exist, for example, 3010 Buffalo Rd. is the home of JDL Computers. 3014 Buffalo Road was demolished in 2009 following a fire at J&L Sports Pub (the tall brick building in the center where Wesleyville Paint & Glass used to be).

The flooding affected many communities in Pennsylvania. Two to three feet of water flooded a long stretch of Buffalo Road from Harborcreek all the way to Downing Avenue in Erie and people in the Harbor Homes housing project had to be evacuated.

1 comment:

  1. Weren't the 2 stores on the right Kelly's Grocery and Bourne's Meat Market?