Flood Map of Louisville, KY


Spectacular cartographic record of the damage done to Louisville during the 1937 Ohio River flood.

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The 1937 Ohio River Flood left over 1 million people homeless and caused nearly half a billion dollars in property damage ($9 billion when adjusted to 2020) between Pittsburgh, PA and Cairo, IL. Cities along the banks of the Ohio were inundated with icy waters for nearly a month in some places, as the federal government struggled to respond in the waning years of the Great Depression.

As evidenced by this map of Louisville, The Gateway to the South was not spared such destruction. Water covers nearly half the total area of the city limits (outlined in red) and reaches inland over 5 miles, including submerging the famous Churchill Downs. Red numbers throughout the sea of blue indicate the depth, while statistics on river elevation attempts to give some context to the extreme height. Fortunately, the headquarters of the publishers (Standard Publishing Company) was near the corner of Market and 1st Streets in the small dry area near the center of the map. This allowed them to continue operation and produce this map less than 3 weeks after the river had crested.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1937

Author: Standard Printing Company

Sheet Width (in): 41.50

Sheet Height (in): 27.90

Condition: B

Condition Description: The map was issued folded, and wear/creasing is visible along the fold lines. A few small spots of soiling within the image, and a 2" damp stain in the top margin. Small tears along the outer edges, but remains good to very good.


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