flood

"Unbelievable"
That's Troop 42's word for Wilkes-Barre
Hopewell Valley News August 17, 1972
by Ruth Knight

Hank Suydam, Bill Rogers, Dave Harris, John Groth, John Knight, Tracey Bailey, Ken Cook, Ken Lomderboom, (rear) Ciff Van Dyke, Tom Fox

Troop 42 Volunteers at Wilkes-Barre Flood
George Washington Council

"Unbelievable!" - that was the one-word summation of the situation at Wilkes-Barre, Pa., when members and leaders of Boy Scout Troop 42, Pennington, visited the area Friday and Saturday, August 4 and 5, to lend a helping hand in cleaning up after the flood which had turned Wilkes-Barre into a disaster area.
 
Scoutmaster John A. Knight had made arrangements for Troop 42 volunteers to work on the home of Mrs. George Walters, 42 Lawrence St., Wilkes-Barre, Pa. Arrangements were made through Peter Johnson, Business Agent of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Local of Asbestos Workers.
 
Mrs. Walters is a 75-year-old widow, who currently is staying with her granddaughter near Wyoming, Pa. Because of her age, Mrs. Walters was not informed by her granddaughter of the extent of the damage done by the flood. She has not been back to Wilkes-Barre since she evacuated her home, although neighbors have reported she speaks of coming home "soon."
 
Other than furniture removal, which was done by neighbors when they returned to their homes, nothing had been done to the Walters's residence until the Scouts arrived. Examination of the building from the outside gave a good indication of what could be found inside. The brick building from the outside gave a good indication of what could be found inside. The brick building showed the high-water mark half-way up the second floor.
 
Inside, the Scouts found the half-concrete, half-dirt floor of the cellar covered with 3 1/2 to 4 inches of mud, loose boards and various things which had been dislodged or carried from other places by the flood waters.
 
The basement was one of the first parts of the house tackled by the scouts, who put their shovels to work removing the mud which coated everything.

The refrigerator and clothes dryer were removed to the back porch by the Scouts. Mud was cleaned from the warped floors and walls. One sight that impressed the Scouts was a chandelier so coated with mud that it reminded them of a television commercial using a batter-coated chandelier.
 
The high-water mark on the outside of the house indicated that the level was 18 feet , putting most of the second floor level under water. Neighbors told of water so high, boats were rowed over a near-by railroad trestle.
 
As the Scouts continued their clean-up, they were amazed that no windows appeared to have been broken despite the torrents that poured through the houses, carrying along furniture from one home and leaving it in another. One of the women in the neighborhood told of finding, in her attic, chairs which belong to other neighbors. She, herself, was overjoyed when, in the rubbish carted out by the Scouts, she found a blue porcelain pitcher - undamaged - which had made its way to the Walters' home. The pitcher had belonged to her mother's mother and she had though it was destroyed by the flood.
 
path Scouts, who agreed that they had never seen anything like the damage done by the flood, found that most of the homes in the immediate area were cleaned up enough for occupancy. Homes with aluminum siding presented the best appearance, but even these would be inspected and many walls torn down because of water damage behind the exterior.
 
All electrical work must be done over. No electrical appliance can be used; all must be replaced. Furnaces must be replaced. Those homes with electricity are homes in which new lines have been run from the service box, all receptacles cleaned and the work inspected and approved for use. Within the last two weeks the ban on using water without boiling it has been lifted. Thousand of mobile homes have been brought in through HUD and placed in driveways for the use of the people. As impressive as this is,, needless to say, the people of Wilkes-Barre can't wait to get rid of the mobile homes and back into their own homes.

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May 2 2004