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Fort Worth Flashback: 1949 flood called worst in our history

Posted May 4, 2015


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.

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.

This photograph, which faces westward, was taken near 2200 W. Seventh St., between the Trinity River and what today is Montgomery Plaza. Flood waters had surrounded the Dave Hicks Co., a factory distributor of famous makes of trailers. The Montgomery Ward Warehouse is in the background.

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

As a result of the flood, 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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