Whitney Point, NY Flood, Jul 1935

Syracusan Depicts Scene In Flood Area

George E. Harris Drives 278 Miles to Return from 60-Mile Trip

Helped Rescue Work

Tells How Girls Aroused Sleeping Residents at Whitney Point

After driving 278 miles to Syracuse from Whitney Point (which is 60 miles by direct route), George E. Harris, 221 East Kennedy Street, reached home Tuesday night to give a vivid eye-witness account of the terrible ravages wrought by the flood.

Mr. Harris, who works at the Municipal Garage, has a summer cottage in Whitney Point. He told of the bravery of Stella Youmans and her sister, who were the first to spread the alarm which probably saved the lives of many townspeople.

“Stella Youmans was talking with her sister in their living room, near the river,” Mr. Harris related. “The girls saw water suddenly seeping up through the cracks in the floor. They tried to have a general alarm sounded on the fire siren, but there was no electricity for that, so they rushed through the streets of the lower town, up to their knees in water, wakening the sleeping residents.

“About 1:30 A.M.,” continured Mr. Harris, “I looked out and saw the frightened men, women and children running across town to the hill where I live. Some were in autos, many were on foot.

“At dawn, we had to send out the only two boats we had to get the people who hadn’t heard the warning in time. They were stranded in second floor windows and on roofs.”
“We head no water, light or even food.” Recounted Mr. Harris, “until the Red Cross arrived at 3 P.M. from Binghamton. I can tell you we were glad to see them.”

“The most terrible thing I saw,” he declared, “was the wrecking of the Walter Barross house. It was simply swept off its foundations into the river and smashed against the bridge. Mrs. Barross was drowned, the young lad was found hours later in a tree, and Barross himself floated on a raft until rescued.

Rescue and first-aid work is under way, according to Mr. Harris, who turned his home over the Red Cross. Fifty-one families are ladged in the Opera House, he reported.
“We are afraid of an epidemic now,” he said. “There is no water, no sanitation and a dangerous lack of suitable housing.”

“I was lucky to get out,” he smiled.

“There’s no gasoline in Whitney Point, of course. Fortunately I had filled up my car before I left Syracuse, and that left me enough to get to Binghamton.

Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, NY 10 July 1935