City was hard hit by 1863 flood

Most Rutland-area residents have heard about the devastating floods of 1927 and 1947. But did you know that there was another Rutland flood that occurred in the mid 19th century? The lesser known flood occurred in 1863 and involved the bustling downtown section of Rutland. According to accounts of the time, a storm culvert was built underground to channel a stream coming off the hills above Merchants Row. At that time, the Edson Street area behind Merchants Row contained houses and a lumberyard among other businesses. This area was called Edsonville. A March 26, 1863 article appearing in a Rutland newspaper told the story: "The warm rain yesterday rapidly melting the snow, and a partial stoppage of the culvert running across Merchants Row caused a flooding of that small portion of our village known as Edsonville. The water commenced filling in about noon yesterday, and at 7 o'clock last evening was some three to five feet deep in places, rendering pedestrianism in said Ville entirely out of the question. The cellars were of course filled with water, and the lower floors of some of the houses, we understand, were flooded. The basement rooms of the buildings on the east side of Merchants Row were also filled with water to the depth of nearly two feet, rendering necessary a hasty removal of goods, groceries, etc." Vermont has a long history of damaging floods mostly the result of heavy rainfall and topography. Valleys and low lying areas are especially prone by these natural events. Special thanks to the Rutland Historical Society for this article.

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