Bullitt County History

1937 Flood as reported by Sallie Pope

The Pioneer News resumed publication on 18 Feb 1937 with the issue being printed in Jeffersontown because its office and equipment was a shambles following the flood. In this issue Miss Sallie Pope, who lived off Cedar Grove Road, wrote about the flood from her perspective on a knoll above the flood waters. Her remarks are transcribed below with the permission of The Pioneer News.

Bullitt Under Water As Seen From Writer's Vantage Point.

Miss Sally Pope has described the flood in that section of Bullitt in which her home is located. Miss Pope, and her father, Mr. Albert Pope, reside on a beautiful knoll, about three and one-fourth miles southeast of Shepherdsville. Her narrative follows.

"Words can not describe what the eye saw, and what the mind seems unable to grasp, when I say the water was from hills to hills with a vast ocean of five or more square miles of water visible with only house tops and trees dotting the surface.

"This seems an inadequate way to describe it. Recalling, it seems to be just a fantastic dream, with everything being so out of proportion as to be unreal.

High and secure on a high eminence, surrounded by an ocean, there was nothing as far as the eye could see on every side and no land visible except a few knolls, chimneys and tops of farm houses at a distance. Some are covered entirely with water, rendering them invisible, with the knobs skirting the horizon toward the south and west from here, all the way to Pitts Point.

"The Robert Simmons farm, adjacent to us, was entirely under water. They lost all their livestock - sheep, cows, horses, and chickens. The water was half way up to the first floor of their home. They refuge in the home of Mr. Austin Kinnaird's on the hill nearly two miles away.

"Mr. Henry Marraman, the dairyman and stockman, one mile from us, lost forty head of sheep, but saved his dairy herd by driving the cattle to the nearby knobs.

"The water covered the territory from here to Pitts Point on the west, and to Lebanon Junction on the south. The whole of Lebanon Junction, a town of about 2000, was submerged under about 10 feet of water. Some homes in our neighborhood, on high land, had as many as 75 people in them, who were without food and sufficient water for three days.

"Shepherdsville was entirely inundated, only second stories and roofs being visible. The people fled for their lives to Mount Washington, Bardstown, Louisville and half dozen other towns. The water ran through both the L. & N. and the highway bridges. The L. & N. put two strings of loaded freight cars on the bridge to prevent it from being washed away. The railroad track from Shepherdsville to Lebanon Junction was from five to ten feet underwater. A relief train came to Gap-in-Knob, one half mile north of Shepherdsville, for refugees, who were taken to Louisville.

"We being on a high hill, both home and barn were safe. For days and days we were cut off from the world but listened to the radio both day and night, and were shocked at the reports from Louisville.

"Now for my dramatic boat ride from my home to Shepherdsville, when the flood was at its apex. This was the most wonderful voyage I ever took, barring neither ocean nor lake trip. I believe that I am the only woman in Bullitt county who had the opportunity of making such a wonderful trip, which was beset with numerous risk and dangers, by reason of the swift current and the eddies in the water. The date of this famous ride on the 'ocean' was January 27. I went by boat from my front porch to Shepherdsville, a distance of three and one-fourth miles. We followed the pike-the same way we are accustomed to take by automobile. The water was from ten to twenty feet deep.

"Every house between here and Shepherdsville was in the water. Only crossed arms of telephone poles and treetops were above water. No fences were seen and only the tops of barns and other buildings, just a surging, rippling ocean, from hill to hill."

This is a work in progress. The web page is copyright 2008 by Charles Hartley, Shepherdsville KY. All rights are reserved. The content taken from The Pioneer News is copyright by the paper, and is used with permission. No part of the content of this page may be included in any format in any place without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 11 Sep 2020 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/bchistory/flood1937pope.html