Hurricane Agnes, 1972

By the time it reached Virginia, Hurricane Agnes was only a tropical depression, but it still dumped more than 7 inches of rain on Charlottesville on June 22, 1972. Including the previous day’s rains it was closer to 10 inches in total according to the weather service records.  Although this area didn’t get the worst of it (Central PA got more than 15 inches), the local flooding and devastation was significant. Hurricane Agnes was the most costly in terms of dollars the U.S. had seen up to that point. In Scottsville, VA the flooding that came with Agnes holds the record, 4 feet higher than even Camille, the devastating storm that hit Central Virginia just three years earlier.

Here in Charlottesville it was enough to send the rivers and streams over their banks.  These photos show the area on the east side of C’ville, primarily along East High Street. Free Bridge (crossing the Rivanna on Route 250) was smaller and lower at that time than it is today and the water levels photographed here reached the bottom of the bridge.

The rains didn’t last long, the sun came out, and the citizens of Charlottesville watched as the river raged along the edge of town as it has done many times before and since.

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It took many weeks to clean up from the flooding. The devastation was evident and a major topic of conversation throughout that summer. Then on October 5th, 1972, just over three months after Agnes, heavy rains hit Virginia once again and the river began to rise… (to be continued)…

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All work © 2015, C’ville Images. Photographs should not be reproduced or used for any purpose without permission.

Tobacco Barns Project

I recently had the opportunity to join a group from Preservation Virginia as they toured the backroads of Southside Virginia. The visit to the area was part of the Tobacco Barns Preservation Project to check out some of the barns that have been preserved as well as some that are candidates for preservation funding.

While tobacco is still grown in the area, many of the old tobacco barns are no longer in use. Preserving them maintains a connection to the agricultural heritage of this region as well as contributing to the rural landscape. To learn more about this project visit the project’s own page on the Preservation Virginia website. A few photos from the trip follow…

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PV Tobacco Field

We also visited the town of South Boston, one time a major market for the area’s tobacco industry. Today it is a relatively quiet town with an active arts community but still maintains ties to its agricultural roots. Here are a few photos from around town:

SoBo Town Hall SoBo Cantaloupe Festival
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South Boston (yes, named after the town in Massachusetts) is on the Danville River and close to the North Carolina border.

The town of South Boston has painted its fire hydrants in the downtown area to represent some of the notable people from the city’s past. Here are a few of the painted hydrants:

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All photos by Steve Trumbull, © C’ville Images

If you would like to support the work of Preservation Virginia and have access to some amazing historic properties, join now.