Larchmont Gazette
1942 Year in Review

Year in Review interprets Larchmont history year by year. Larchmonters speak for themselves through news reports, pictures, and official documents.


August 13, 1942


To Be Held At 3:00 PM Saturday At Weaver Street Firehouse; All Sufferers From The High Water Invited To Attend.

Local governing bodies are liable for the property damage inflicted by the “flash floods” of the last few years, according to a statement issued today by Julien Elfenbein, chairman of the flood committee of the Larchmont Gardens Asspcoation, which will sponsor a mass meeting for flood sufferers at 3:00 PM Saturday at the Weaver Street Firehouse.

High water here is due not so much to an “Act of God” as to “acts of human stupidity,” declared the statement, which was issued after a meeting of the steering committee for the mass gathering of citizens Saturday afternoon.

Twenty homeowners met at Mr. Elfenbein’s home at 47 West Brookside Drive, Town, last night to prepare an agenda for the mass meeting. And other taxpayers interested in health protection are invited to attend, Mr. Elfenbein declared. His statement follows:

Even the most simple minded among us know that rain is an “Act of God” as local officials constantly remind us. But the known facts about the Mamaroneck “flash floods,” so called, indicate that the floods are largely "acts of human stupidity.”

Almost every heavy rainfall now brings torrents of floodwaters rushing through citizens’ sellers and furnace rooms, even living rooms, carrying garbage, filth, rats and vermin, backing up through sewers and toilets, spreading disease and creating untold damage, destruction and danger that continues for weeks and months after the flood waters have subsided.

In the poorer sections citizens wallow in six and a half feet of filthy water in their homes and there will be the breeding place for epidemics of infantile paralysis and other dread diseases that recognize no restricted area!

These flood conditions have been getting worse every year since 1936. Floods occur now with almost every rainfall. They will continue to get worse and more serious.

Local industrial plants engaged in war production have watched their products ruined and their plants flooded.

Office of Civilian Defense orders citizens to clear their attics for incendiary bomb fighting, but flood sufferers in this community are storing everything they possess in the attics and clearing their cellars.

In case of fire or actual air raid during one of these flash floods, hundreds of citizens would be marooned from any assistance by either air raid wardens or firefighters unless the firefighters had the same kind of equipment used by the New York Harbor Fire Patrol.

Homeowners say they’re tired of listening to alibis, buck-passing, and half-baked engineering theories. They also say they cannot wait for the war to end the Federal government to do something.

Life, property and health are threatened right now – today - by the Sheldrake and Mamaroneck river menaces. Money which could be better used for war bonds is spent of necessity to repair oil burners, furnaces, garages, cellars, driveways, floors, to restore topsoil, gardens, industrial equipment and to meet legal fees.

The local governing bodies have clearly accepted liability for these last nine floods by spending thousands of dollars of the taxpayers’ money, and even federal funds, in futile attempts to alleviate conditions: building useless walls, erecting dikes, widening a bridge here, diverting a stream there, a bit of dredging, and a bit of repairing; but mostly the money has gone for pumping cellars, hauling out submerged cars, collecting refuge, repairing streets and sewers, and settling damage suits out of court.

Serious floods have occurred on these dates: March 19, 1936; October 20, 1937; July 23, 1938; September 1 and 2, 1938; April 9, 1940; February 8, 1941; July 27, 1942; August 9, 1942, and August 11, 1942.

The time is over due for action and it doesn’t require Army engineers or Federal appropriations to check the situation. Local homeowners familiar with the flood situation for many years and in full possession of all the facts will describe the causes and cures at the Saturday mass meeting - 3:00 PM at the Weaver Street Firehouse, Weaver Street and Edgewood Avenue, Town.

Flood sufferers are guaranteed this time they will get action.

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