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Fort Worth Flashback: 1949 flood called worst in city’s history

Posted May 13, 2014

Posted May 13, 2014

aerial view shows floodwaters engulfing the area around West Lancaster Avenue

The 1949 flood many consider to be the worst in Fort Worth’s history sent water from the Clear Fork of the Trinity River into homes and businesses in north and west portions of the city.

This aerial view shows floodwaters engulfing the area around West Lancaster Avenue. On the bottom left corner of the photo is Montgomery Ward (now the Montgomery Plaza development). At the top right is Farrington Field, entirely submerged.

An estimated 11 inches of rain had fallen overnight May 16, 1949, on the Clear Fork’s watershed southwest of the city. Residents used boats to navigate neighborhood streets as far as a mile north and west of the Clear Fork.

The 1949 flood surpassed landmark floods of 1908 and 1922. Ten people were killed and property damage exceeded $11 million.

The entity that was then known as the Water District, in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was asked to assume responsibility for extensive improvement of the 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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