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JIM: 5 Jan 1913. A deluge delays mail to Columbia for five days
'Big Freshet' wreaks havoc on transportation, delivery of mail. For five days damage from flood which took out floor of bridge over Green River in Taylor County and went over the floor of the Russell Creek Bridge on Campbellsville Street in Columbia, prevented mail hack arrived in town with 30 sacks of mail. The Columbia post office crew received the mail at 7am, then in a heroic marathon had the mail cased and opened the window of the 9pm in the evening, giving the Adair County News bragging assertion rights for the most dedicated and efficient PM & his "two deputies."
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The unofficial Post Office motto about "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night..." went on hiatus of a necessity in Columbia one hundred and four years ago this week. Beginning about dark on Sunday evening, January 5th, 1913, and continuing without ceasing until five o'clock Tuesday afternoon, a deluge of rain -- a "big freshet," as the News called it -- played havoc with transportation in much of Kentucky and the lower Ohio River Valley.
Locally, the bridge at Plum Point got swept away in the tide and the approaches to the Milltown bridge were badly damaged. A three-mile stretch of the train track between Greensburg and Campbellsville was heavily inundated; at the span across Russell's Creek just north of Columbia proper, the water reached the floor of the bridge about two o'clock Tuesday afternoon and was running two or more feet above it come dark; and at the Green River crossing on the Columbia & Campbellsville Turnpike, the current swept away the wooden floor of the bridge.
The upshot of this, in the words of the newspaper, was that "Columbia was shut out from all mails" (at that time, Columbia's mail came though Campbellsville) until the Green River span was re-floored on Thursday and the hack arrived in town at seven that night, delivering no fewer than thirty sacks of mail to the local Post Office.
Enter the Columbia postmaster and his crew who tackled the mountian of letters and packages with the ferocity of men determined to set things aright. Said the News,
"Postmaster [W.A.] Coffey and his two deputies, J.M. Russell and L.W. Staples, rolled up their sleeves and dived into the task. By nine o'clock [that evening] the post office window was thrown open and the patrons of the office were removing their mail. That was going some, and we venture the assertion that quicker service has not been reported from other offices whose business were disturbed by the flood."
Happy New Year, Adair County!
This story was posted on 2017-01-01 05:05:03
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