People Get Ready

[ make levees, not war ]

Rebuilding after Hurricane Agnes

Posted by schroeder915 on July 2, 2006

Can we have this guy for mayor?

“I wanted downtown to be back like when I was a kid, so my kids could enjoy it like I did,” recalls Leighton. “When I ran for office, people told me, ‘We want our old downtown.’”

Betsey has the following recollection of rebuilding after Hurricane Agnes in 1972.

Oh … you don’t remember Agnes? Maybe that’s because it hit Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania!

Thus began the trek of washing hundreds of records, including one I scrubbed with brillo when the chore got so tedious and tiresome, legos- you have NO idea what cleaning legos of dried mud is like, and throwing out most everything that floated to the ceiling of the first floor of our home (including a Steinway grand.)

We and everyone else within Wyoming Valley.

Bringing an old city back to its glory was a tough task after Agnes. Bringing back a city from ruin is emotionally, spiritually and financially draining. No one had flood insurance. The last flood had been in the 30’s. Families who rebuilt essentially paid for their homes and businesses twice, the original mortgages and the second ones.

Although Wilkes-Barre cleaned up relatively quickly, and most businesses and citizens were determined to return, it has taken 35 years for the rebirth to blossom. An example of the bloom is a new 14 screen theater that just opened last week downtown!

It’s nice to know that hospitality never goes out of style.

We had parked outside of an elderly couple’s home, the Kapulkas, who in early 70’s neighborliness, invited us into their home.

I highly recommend oyster’s post about how Pennsylvania saved itself from another disaster this year by raising its levee protection: “That $200 million saved us a billion dollars today.”

Related:

I’m just askin’

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2 Responses to “Rebuilding after Hurricane Agnes”

  1. Rob said

    But do you really think we should spend the taxpayers’ hard-earned money on rebuilding a town on a flood plain?

  2. Schroeder said

    True. They should be punished for building there in the first place.

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