If history has a tendency to repeat itself, let’s hope the flooding of Louisville is an exception to the rule. In January of 1937, during the hard economic times of the Great Depression, heavy rains began to fall and continued to do so for two straight weeks. The Ohio River reached a crest of 57.1 feet—nearly 30 feet above flood stage and more than 175,000 citizens were displaced. Just to give you a frame of reference of just how many people that is, the KFC Yum Center can hold 22,000 people.
The University of Louisville Photographic Archives commemorates this event with the exhibit 75th Anniversary of the 1937 Flood on Thursday, Jan. 26th nearly 75 years to the day that the Ohio River crested in Louisville. The reception will be from 5 to 7 p.m. outside of the Photographic Archives gallery, east wing, lower level of the Ekstrom Library at the University of Louisville.
Dr. Robert L. Reid, retired Provost and Professor of History Emeritus at the University of Southern Indiana, will present an illustrated lecture “The Twentieth Century’s Katrina: the Great Flood of 1937” at 6:00 pm.
The exhibit will include photographs from Life magazine’s pioneering photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White, Corwin Short (a Louisville photographer who shot Bourke-White while she was in Louisville) and aerial photos taken by the Indiana Air National Guard.
This exhibit marks the beginning of the photographic archives’ 50th anniversary celebration. It will be on view Jan. 26th – March 9th. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Admission is free.
For information on the exhibit, call the Photographic Archives at 502-852-6752.
Photo: Indiana National Guard aerial photo of downtown Louisville courtesy of the University of Louisville Photographic Archives