1915 Erie, PA Flood

One of the worst days in Erie’s history occurred on August 3, 1915 when severe flooding cut a swath through the heart of the city causing an estimated $3,000,000 in damages. Thunderstorms dumped over five inches of rain in a six hour period causing Mill Creek to flood its banks. Normally a meandering quiet stream draining the downtown area enroute to Lake Erie, the stream quickly jumped its banks sweeping away buildings, vegetation and general debris. Soon clogged at the 26th Street culvert, the debris caused an artificial lake to form. Day long efforts to unplug the debris dam failed until Mother Nature took things into her own hands. In the early evening hours, the mounting pressure finally caused the culvert to collapse releasing the debris pile and allowing all of the backed up water to now race forward scouring everything in its path. The resulting path of destruction measured three blocks wide and over three miles long. Over 500 private homes and commercial businesses were either severely damaged or completely destroyed and 36 residents lost their lives.

The flood and its damages is well documented on postcards. Postcards were available for sale in approximately 10 days with my earliest known use being August 14. Since postcards are not numbered, data base is in alphabetical order by caption with lettering identified as being either in red ink or black ink.


CUnidentifiedBLACK12th St. Looking East Aug. 3-1915 Erie, Pa.
CUnidentifiedBLACK18th & French Sts. Aug. 3-1915 Erie, Pa.
CUnidentifiedBLACKLooking West on 10th from Holland St. Aug. 3-1915 Erie, Pa.
CUnidentifiedBLACK6th & German. Higgins Family Found Aug. 3-1915 Erie, Pa.
CUnidentifiedRED$35,000 Brick Leemhuis Block, 8th & Holland St.
CUnidentifiedRED11th & Millcreek
CUnidentifiedRED14th and French Street
CUnidentifiedRED26th St. Bridge destroyed Aug. 3rd, 1915
CUnidentifiedREDA View of Business Section after Flood of Aug. 3rd, 1915
CUnidentifiedREDAfter the flood at 18th and French
CUnidentifiedREDAfter the flood of Aug. 3rd, 1915 at 13th and French
CUnidentifiedREDAfter the flood of Aug. 3rd, 1915 between 12th and 13th on French St.
CUnidentifiedREDCleaning the Streets after the Flood of Aug. 3rd, 1915
CUnidentifiedREDEast 26th Street Car overturned at 18th and French
CUnidentifiedREDEast 5th Street
CUnidentifiedREDErie Business Section
CUnidentifiedREDFamilies made homeless between Eleventh and Twelfth on Mill Creek
CUnidentifiedREDFine 2-family flats crumbled, Flood on 5th and Mill Creek
CUnidentifiedREDFlood of Aug. 3rd, 1915, near German between 6th & 7th Sts.
CUnidentifiedREDFlood, 6th & German Sts.
CUnidentifiedREDFlood's Damage at 4th & Parade Streets
CUnidentifiedREDFrench Street between 11th and 12th Streets, Flood Dsitrict
CUnidentifiedREDNew $7,000 2-family brick flat, undermined by Flood
CUnidentifiedREDNew Ford Garage between State and French on 18th Street Destroyed in Flood
CUnidentifiedREDOverturned cars on P.R.R. at 1st and Ash Sts.
CUnidentifiedREDSeventeenth & French Street
CUnidentifiedREDTotman Carriage Works destroyed by flood of Aug. 3rd, 1915.
CUnidentifiedREDTracks undermined at 4 Mile Creek
CUnidentifiedREDTwenty Fourth Street Bridge torn away
CUnidentifiedREDWhere Higgins Family was found at 6th and German
CUnidentifiedREDWhere Quinn & Newmer Buildings were desstroyed by flood, Aug. 3rd, 1915
CUnidentifiedREDWhere the water damned 26th near State
CUnidentifiedREDWhere several bodies were found at 6th and German
RPUnidentifiedSCRIPTRear Part of House on East 10th - 2 Bathtubs Visible
RPUnidentified21st Street Bridge
RPUnidentifiedDamaged home sits in road at unidentified location
RPUnidentifiedResidents surveying flood damage