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The Great Flood of 1916 – Symposium on July 15

asheville-railroad-yard-flood-1916 RS

Asheville Railroad Yard – Flood  of 1916

The Great Flood of 1916 — Symposium– A century ago, WNC experienced possibly the worst natural disaster the region has ever seen. July 15, 1916 was a day of extraordinary rain. The French Broad and Swannanoa Rivers, swollen to unheard-of-heights, devasted Hendersonville, Asheville, Biltmore, Marshall and other communities lying in their watersheds.

What was the Great Flood of 1916 like and what were the lessons learned from the tragedy? And are we prepared for potential floods that may come in the future?

Please join The Asheville History Center this July 15 and July 16 for a symposium at Ferguson Auditorium on the AB Tech campus as these questions are explored. The two-day event is free to the public. Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of So Great the Devastation, a 48 page illustrated color booklet about the Great Flood.

The July 15 (Friday) schedule:

8:00am: Registration at Ferguson Auditorium

8:30am: Panel Session describing the Great Flood with Milton Ready, Professor Emeritus, UNC-A and Anthony Sadler of Appalachian State University

10:15am: Lessons Learned with representatives from the NC Division of Emergency Management, NC Dept of Public Safety, and the National Environmental Modeling Center

1:30pm: Panel Session discussing “Are we prepared for the next flood?” with representatives from Asheville City and Buncombe Cty. Gov’ts, the River Arts District and architect Robert Griffin.

The July 16 (Saturday) schedule:

10:00am: Keynote Speaker – John Barry, author of Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America.

11:15am: “A Climatological Perspective on the 1916 Flood” with Michael Tanner, Director of Asheville’s NOAA Center for Weather and Climate

1:30pm: Come Hell or High Water documentary of the Great Flood of 1916 by David Weintraub, filmmaker.

1:45pm: “Granny and the Flood” with Bill Carson, storyteller

2:00pm: Flood Damage to Local Assets with representatives from the Biltmore Company and Duke Energy with Gary Freeze of Catawba College.

The symposium is supported by Buncombe County Emergency Management, NC Dept of Natural and Cultural Resources, RiverLink, Duke Power, the Wilma Dykeman Legacy, and the Western North Carolina Historical Association.

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