May 28, 2018

Hurricane Diane, 1955


Hurricane Diane hit the Lehigh Valley in August of 1955. Living in Little Lehigh Manor, I remember huddling in the house, while the metal garbage cans of the era flew around the neighborhood. My father, whose meat market was on Union Street by the Lehigh River, worked throughout the night. Fortunately for him, his market had an second floor backup cooler, and a small freight elevator. While the retail business district on Hamilton Street is elevated enough to be unaffected from flooding, center city Easton was devastated by the Delaware. The next morning was rather surreal for a nine year old boy. A large willow tree on the corner of Lehigh Parkway South and Catalina Ave. was lying on it's side. Although the Little Lehigh receded quickly, the park road and basin had been flooded. Diane remains a record in flooding and damage. Let us hope it remains that way.

photo from August 1955. Lehigh River rising by former A&B Meats. The row of houses shown were demolished to make way for a new bridge approach several years later.

2 comments:

Tony Hanna said...

Michael,

I have some recollection of Hurricane Diane from the summer of 1955, primarily because of an issue I had with my father at the time. I was 4 years old and I was a big Howdy Doody fan, as I know you were, too, since I see your photo of Buffalo Bob Smith and Howdy Doody posted on your site. Rayco Auto Store, across from Western Electric on Union Boulevard was having either a grand opening or another promotion and Clarabell the Clown was going to be there as a special guest. Living just across the Lehigh on Tilghman Street in the Sixth Ward, this was going to be as close as I would ever be to Clarabell. I asked my father if he would take me to Rayco to see Clarabell. It was raining and Hurricane Diane was on her way to Allentown, so my father and mother, although she relented later, didn't feel we should take any chances with the weather. I was devastated and cried and begged and cried and begged. We were living with my paternal grandparents and they agreed with my father, fearing we could be stranded in East Allentown by floodwaters and street flooding. I was relentless and finally, my father agreed, more than likely because of my mother's intervention. I saw Clarabell, the rains intensified, my father whisked us out of the store and we got back home safely. Another happy member of the Peanut Gallery.

Tony

Huck Weaver said...

Michael, After Hurricane Diane my father took my family on a road trip to the Poconos .I remember the damage but the thing I remember most were the military style temporary bridges constructed over the streams and creeks.