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Fort Worth Flashback: 1949 flood led to creation of levee system

Posted Jan. 9, 2012

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On May 17, 1949, the Clear Fork of the Trinity River in Fort Worth broke through its levees and spilled floodwaters into the city’s commercial, industrial and residential districts.

An estimated 11 inches of rain had fallen overnight on the Clear Fork’s watershed southwest of the city. As seen here, Fort Worth residents used boats to navigate neighborhood streets as far as a mile north and west of the Clear Fork.

The 1949 flood has been termed the worst in Fort Worth history, surpassing landmark floods of 1908 and 1922. Ten people were killed and property damage exceeded $11 million.

The flood prompted creation of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Fort Worth District and the construction of the existing levee system.

The Fort Worth Library has approximately 10,000 items pertaining to the history of Fort Worth and Tarrant County. These items include city and county government documents, newspapers, directories, cemetery association records, maps as well as popular and scholarly books written by local authors or about local subjects. To learn more, call 817-392-7740 or email the Genealogy, History and Archives Section.

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