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Hartford Daily Courant, February 27, 1875



In the Naugatuck and

Housatonic Valleys


Great Damage Near Birmingham –

An Ice Dam Forty Feet high –

Many Houses Swept Off



New Haven. Feb 27 – A very serious flood, caused by a freshet in the Housatonic River, has devastated the country in the vicinity of Zoar Bridge, about nine miles above Birmingham.  A huge ice gorge has been formed at Otter Rocks and the roads are impassable. Zoar Bridge was carried a mile down the stream.


The water rose to the second story windows of dwellings in some cases, and a number of barns and buildings were moved from their foundations. A quantity of livestock was destroyed, and there were many narrow escapes from death, but no lives were lost.


Five families barely escaped from their dwellings.  A house in which there was a family ofq  six persons were surrounded before the inmates were aware of their danger. They retreated to the upper story, and at last account had not been relieved. Several houses and barns were wrecked owing to the beating of the ice, and a number of cattle have been drowned.


The ice is dammed up at Otter Rocks, from thirty to forty feet high, and the water is raised at least ten feet higher than was ever known before.  The roads are completely lost under ten or fifteen feet of water and ice, and are rendered totally impassable until next summer. The valley from hill to hill is filled with ice and water, and travelling has to be accomplished in a dangerous manner over the hills and through swollen brooks.  There is no way of learning the amount of damage in the valley above Riverside, but it must be great.



[Special dispatch to THE COURANT.]


WATERBURY, Feb.26. – During the freshet Thursday night a portion of the Home Woolen company’s dam at Beacon Falls was carried away. This afternoon a man named Flaherty was assisting in repairing the leak.  He fell into the river and was swept away beyond recovery.  F.E.B

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