Updated 06/21/2012 08:52 PM
40th anniversary of the Agnes flood
Forty years ago, the Agnes flood left her mark on the Southern Tier. Elmira and Corning were forever changed by the flood of '72. Our Lara Greenberg tells us how people are remembering the region's biggest natural disaster on its 40th anniversary.
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ELMIRA, N.Y. -- Joe Caparulo was just a child when the flood of '72 washed through the City of Elmira. But he remembers it like it was yesterday.
"Very, very dramatic and heart wrenching experience for a lot of Elmirans," said Caparulo of Elmira.
It was June 21st when the rain started and by the 23rd, the Chemung River had taken over the city, turning cars into boats and stores into unusable buildings.
Mike Laskaris worked at Howell's, a box factory, and remembers cleaning up for days.
"There was papers piled right up the ceiling. And it was smelly. You could smell the paper. And it was bad. You could only work there for a few minutes and then you had to quit," said Laskaris of Elmira.
On this date 40 years ago, Water Street was quite literally a water street. And historians say it's never fully built back from the flood.
"It was probably six months to a year when the officials said it's done. But I still have people telling me today that they find flood mud in their homes, having older homes in downtown Elmira. There's still remnants out there," said Chemung County Historical Society Director Bruce Whitmarsh.
Including empty storefronts and parks along the river. These parks used to be businesses.
Now the Chemung Valley History Museum is featuring a special flood exhibit to remember the flood and cleanup process.
"America time and time again pitches in and helps people out. And I think it's that memory that's the important part. That's what we need to remember," said Whitmarsh.
From a devastating disaster that most Elmirans will never forget.
The exhibit at the Chemung Valley History Museum officially opened Thursday. Community Arts of Elmira is opening a flood exhibit Friday at 4 p.m. And the Corning Museum of Glass is also featuring a special flood exhibit.