The Mighty Merrimack River!
The Merrimack river runs right through Manchester and is a staple of the city as it flows and bends 117 miles from New Hampshire into Massachusetts. From the 1850’s to the 1930’s the river was used to produce power for not only the citizens, but for the textile mills that had influenced Manchester’s economy to thrive! Even several U.S. Navy ships have been named the USS Merrimack in honor of the river!
Although the river produced a great amount of energy, it has a history of being very destructive during the flooding seasons. In 1936 the Merrimack River rose rapidly above average water levels and caused “$270 million in damage and took at least 107 lives“.
This flood even affected animals too, “about 200 animals housed at the zoo in Manchester, N.H., drowned when they were swept down the Merrimack, which swelled to a record 16 feet above normal. A bear and two leopards clung to ice floes as they floated downriver”.
As unfortunate as this flooding was, “the disaster prompted the first general flood-control act in U.S. history, [which] made flood prevention a federal responsibility, and led to scores of projects over the next five decades”.
The mighty Merrimack River has brought food, drinking water, electricity and transportation conveniently to Manchester for hundreds of years, however lets not underestimate the power behind this beautiful river!
Thank you for tuning into this week’s #ThrowBackThursday! We hope to bring new and interesting historical facts about Manchester, NH to you!
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