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Time Passages ... When the waters came

How the Flood of '55 killed East Brimfield

Dot Warren examines photos she took as a young girl, depicting the damage caused to her family’s East Brimfield homes during the flood of 1955. Christopher Tanguay. (click for larger version)
August 17, 2009
(EAST) BRIMFIELD — Fifty-four years ago today — Aug. 19, 1955 — the Quinebaug River swelled to previously unseen levels, devastating homes throughout southern Worcester County, as the result of hurricanes Connie and Diane.

One of the most heavily damaged areas was the village of East Brimfield.

Floodwaters are seen approaching the front door of Warren’s sister’s home in East Brimfield. Courtesy photo. (click for larger version)
Originally settled as a mill village in the early 19th century using the Quinebaug for power, East Brimfield sprang up literally feet from the river's normal edge, which made it a prime location for a flood plain.

As part of the Army Corps of Engineers' flood protection project, initiated by Congress in response to the Flood of '55, the village was vacated, the buildings either moved or demolished, and the East Brimfield Dam was built, hiding what was once a bustling town beneath the unassuming water of the East Brimfield Reservoir.

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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