This picture of the flood in the parking lot near the cemetery was sent
by Bob and Amy Burns. It was taken by Amy's uncle, Doug Taylor.
Your story about the Mill River brought back a memory of something that happened in 1955 that
probably never showed up in the news. At that time most of the city of Woonsocket got wiped out by the
river. Draper had hired a young engineer from Canada, (don't remember his name but he married a girl
from Bancroft Park who I do remember.) At this time period I was working with the millwright in Drapers.
One of this engineer's jobs was to take care of the pond level. It was the fall of the year and New
England was expecting a hurricane. It had been raining hard for two days,. The old timer millwrights
were telling the engineer to start pulling boards out of the dam to bring the pond level down. The
engineer said it wasn't necessary . The next day at 8 a.m. it was pouring rain and he hadn't pulled any
of the boards. By noontime the water was running over the banks of the pond. There was a foot of
water in the lot where the Red Shop used to be, and the water was a foot high and running over
Freedom Street, pouring into the ditches that are in front of the shop, from the dam to the end of shop
going towards Bancroft Park. It also broke the windows there and water poured into the shop. That's
when the engineer came out and pulled several levels of board. (He opened the flood gates). In less
than 10 minutes the shop parking lot on the south end of the shop (where Hopedale Coal and Ice was)
were flooded. The water went from a couple of inches to 5 feet in less than 10 minutes. Over 100 cars
were under water. In less than an hour this millions of gallons of water, on top of the already swollen Mill
River reached Woonsocket and destroyed half the city. John Cembruch, December 2009.
More photos of the flood - outside the Draper plant inside the plant