Hurricane Agnes survivors recall devastation of ’72 flood

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – 3507 North Front Street has been in Jeb Stuart’s family since 1927.

He still remembers the first time he saw the home after Hurricane Agnes hit in 1972.

“My first impression, of course, was horror. This was the home I grew up in,” he said. “The furniture, the mud, the debris; you name it.”

Floodwaters rose so quickly that family members were trapped on the second floor for days.

“They couldn’t get out on the second floor,” Stuart said. “They had no electric, no water, no heat. They were wet and cold.”

River Rescue finally came to the rescue and took them away in boats.

The Herzog sisters have similar memories of the flood. They’ve lived in Shipoke for nearly 70 years.

“You could see the water coming up out of the storm drain,” Carol Herzog said. “By then, we knew we had to go, so that’s what we did. We left.”

“We had water three steps from the second floor,” Sharyn Herzog said. “So, we basically lost everything in the basement and on the first floor.”

After Agnes left, city leaders wanted to bulldoze their quaint little neighborhood and start from scratch, but residents resisted and won.

“That was really what was extraordinary about Shipoke; the determination, the wisdom and the risk taking that these pioneers and homeowners took,” Dave Morrison of the Historic Harrisburg Association said.

It would take months, even years for life to return to normal. Many credited the Amish for their hard work and compassion in helping Harrisburg to rebuild from the devastation.

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