Just Yesterday: The 1937 Flood

The recorded history of the Ohio began in the late 17th century when French explorers reached the Ohio River, a river the Iroquois called O-y-o or “great river”. For many years the majestic Ohio has bestowed Aurora its many gifts along with its rage. Through the years Aurora has experienced numerous floods gifted us by the great Ohio; 1881, 1883, 1913, and 1993, just to name a few.  The most memorable one was in January 1937.

The 1937 Flood is one of the greatest disasters in Aurora history. The heavy rain began on January 9th and continued through January 23rd stopping for only brief intervals. This, combined with melting snow, raised the river well above flood stage. Aurora, along with communities throughout the Ohio Valley, was overwhelmed, without electricity, and short on basic needs. The scale of this flood surpassed all previous floods and left extensive damage throughout the town. Cleanup and reconstruction began immediately, but unfortunately took years to complete.

In 1937, the water level at its highest was 81 feet, reached to the front door of the Aurora Public Library, and forced our library to close. There was no loss of books but there was heavy loss of materials stored in the basement. Also, the flood affected the train depot which now houses the Local History Library. In 1937, the building was a working train depot and the railroad tracks were owned by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Both libraries have the plate showing the height of the water on the building.

The Baptist Church, a large brick church on Main Street was finished in 1875.  It was one of the finest churches in southern Indiana. The Church survived the ’37 flood waters only to be destroyed by a fire June 4, 1937, due to electrical damage caused by the devastating flood.  For over a year, Sunday morning services were held in the Palace Theater (currently the Fusion Salon & Day Spa) on Second Street. 

These are just a few of the intriguing facts about Aurora during the 1937 Flood.  Visit our Local History Library @ The Depot to learn more about this and other floods that plagued our city throughout the years.  The Local History Library is located at 510 Second Street near the railroad tracks.  The hours are Tuesday and Thursday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM and the third Saturday of the month 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM.  Come with your questions and plan on visiting for awhile!

 

Local History Library

The Local History Library of the Aurora Public Library District will be open by appointment only during January 2021. This is to allow for some reorganization that will allow the staff to better serve the needs of the Library community.

To request an appointment time to use the Local History Library, please call 812-926-0646. We will do our best to accommodate your schedule. Meanwhile, you may continue to use Ancestry.com from a public computer at either the Aurora Public Library or the Dillsboro Public Library. Heritage Quest and Newspaper Archive are available to use from any computer.

2020 Hours of Service

In order to better serve the community, some of our operating hours will change, beginning on January 2, 2020. The changes are shown in red.

The Aurora Public Library

Monday 10 am – 6 pm

Tuesday 10 am – 8 pm

Wednesday 10 am – 6 pm

Thursday 10 am – 8 pm

Friday 10 am – 6 pm

Saturday 10 am – 3 pm

The Dillsboro Public Library

Monday 10 am – 6 pm

Tuesday 10 am – 6 pm

Wednesday 10 am – 6 pm

Thursday 10 am – 6 pm

Friday 10 am – 6 pm

Saturday 10 am – 3 pm

 

The Local History Library
@ the Depot

Tuesday 10 am – 6 pm

Wednesday 10 am – 6 pm

Thursday 10 am – 6 pm

1st & 3rd Saturday 10 am – 3 pm

(closed each day 12:30-1 pm)

 

 

Community Concert with Matthew Ball!

Join the Aurora Public Library District on Thursday, June 22 at 7 p.m. at the Local History Library @ the Depot for a free outdoor Community Concert. Bring your own lawn chair or a blanket for a night of great music by pianist Matthew Ball.

Matthew Ball is a pianist and songwriter specializing in music from the ’20’s, ’30’s, and ’40’s. He plays a variety of genres, including jazz, swing, ragtime, blues, and boogie-woogie. He’s sure to get your toes tapping and your spirits soaring!

The concert is free for everyone and for all ages, and no registration is required. Bring the whole family! Let’s Build a Better World through Community!