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Mount Clemens

April 16, 2014

Looking Back: April 6, 1947, Easter Sunday in Mount Clemens

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Frank Jennette, the man pictured center holding his hat, is just one of the many people fighting Mother Nature on Easter Sunday in 1947. People resorted to driving their boats down Crocker Boulevard instead of their cars. Kibbee Flats was under 10-15 feet of water. One could only see the tops of the trees in that area.

More than 1,000 homes were flooded to their first floors. The local paper noted it as the most disastrous and damaging flood in Mount Clemens’ history. It forced Mayor Albert A. Wagner and Drain Commissioner William C. Harper to direct a forceful plea to federal authorities for immediate action on the Clinton Spillway project. Damage was estimated at approximately $400,000, and 90 percent of the excess water could have been diverted by a spillway at Shadyside Park. Hundreds of people had to be rescued.

Walter Allor narrowly escaped with his life when the current seized him near the Moravian Bridge. He was found clinging to a tree where Deputy Sheriff William Hartway and Robert Branson rescued him with the help of an army amphibian “duck” commanded by Lt. Col. Harold Brownson. Many who were rescued sought refuge at hotels, rooming houses, the Macabees Hall, the USO and Masonic Temple. Some of the churches in town provided meals to those in need. The whole community rose up to help each other.

From Kim Parr, director of the Macomb County Historical Society and Crocker House Museum