Hurricane Season Brings Back Memories Of Agnes In 1972
One of my recent articles, I mentioned that we are in the peak season for hurricanes. And while we don't get direct hits, the remnants most always find their way into our part of the country.
Every time we get these storms from hurricanes like we are experiencing now, it reminds me of Hurricane Agnes back in 1972. I don't think it had much of an impact in the Binghamton area, but where I lived, it was a devastating storm.
I grew up in the Corning area which was hit hard by Hurricane Agnes. I don't think anyone knew what has about to happen. The flood occurred on June 23rd, 1972. I had just finished 11th grade at one of the area schools.
I lived just outside of town on higher ground in the countryside, so our home only experienced a flooded cellar...nothing we couldn't deal with. Those in and around the Corning area, including Elmira and even down through Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania had it so much worse.
After the storm, the devastation was clearly evident. Some homes were knocked off their foundation, one of the walls of the only McDonalds in town collapsed. Basically every building in the valley was hit hard. Downtown Painted Post and Corning looked like a water war zone.
Corning Glass Works as it was called back then, now Corning Incorporated, started up a Y.E.S. work program, which stood for Youth Emergency Services to help clean up the huge mess the flood waters left behind. I became a part of that workforce, going from home to home, helping to clean up and assist in any way.
To this day, I still remember the stench of the mud and in some cases rotting food from refrigerators of homes that where no longer occupied. But what really impressed me, was how the community rallied together and basically rebuilt the Corning area to what it is today. They did things right, and redesigned the areas around the Chemung River to help make sure that horrible devastation never happens again.