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  • A Historic Flood

    During May 1-2, 2010, Nashville received more than 13 inches of rainfall, forcing the Cumberland River and several others over their banks. Flooding devastated areas throughout Nashville and surrounding counties, taking lives and destroying homes, businesses, and roadways. A massive community response resulted in more than 25,000 volunteers helping with cleanup and repairs. Today, our city continues to feel the impact of these events, whether in the empty lots in our neighborhoods or the community spirit fostered through shared struggles.

    This site contains items from the Flood 2010 Collection at the Nashville Public Library. More items from the collection can be viewed at the library's Special Collections Division.

  • In Our Own Words

    • “We had people that were plucked off of the tops of their cars; we had people that were, one person had to reach out with a tree limb to grab someone floating down the flood water, floating down this area that, it was like a miniature river.”

      Michael Sullivan, Volunteer Sergeant with Office of Emergency Management
    • “You began to smell it after a while because it was the water from the river and then it was the sewer, everything had just backed up because it just pushed everything and then it just sat there and everything… It was something in the water. I know they had snakes, they had all kinds of things that had washed ashore from the water so that it was not safe for them to even go in there even though people did anyway.”

      Ruby Baker, Bordeaux Resident
    • “We were getting people out, people were getting out of their houses and just, just panicking and moving out and next thing I know, I hear something pop, a sound I never heard before and it popped again. I looked down the street and I said, “the house is getting ready to break.” A whole house picked up off its foundation moved exactly across the street, the current was that strong.”

      William Stone, Bordeaux Resident
    • “The absolute most amazing thing, though, when we’re sitting there looking at it, just completely overwhelmed and friends that we hadn’t seen in years showed up at eight o’clock in the morning and just walked in and started hauling stuff out.”

      Carol Warren, Williamson County Resident
    • “There was a church, Harpeth Heights Baptist, that put up a tent at the end of our street. After the first few days when everybody, all the restaurants, quit bringing food and that kind of thing, they were still there. And it became the community discussion and new and find-out-what’s-going-on point and also you could get something to eat. They stayed for months – I mean, they stayed until August or September, they stayed all summer. They didn’t know us, we don’t belong to their church, they just were there. The level of stuff that total strangers did was amazing.”

      Craig Owensby, Bellevue Resident
    • “The thing that stands out the most, the thing that I will remember the most, that I will never forget, is stepping outside my yard and looking left and right and seeing 20-30 people at every single house, just about. And I know that they’re not all family, they’re not all friends. Seeing people literally walking up and down the street with masks on, those paper masks on, and gloves but they’re carrying coolers and they’re just saying, “Anybody need water? Anybody want this and this and this?””

      Owen Grimenstein, Bellevue Resident
    • “And that’s when I realized to myself, I am gonna be here all night. Nobody’s going to know that I’m here, because the traffic has ceased, nobody’s going to come this way. I had one more round and I saw this figure, walking on the highway. And I thought, “Wow, what is this?” So I fired my weapon one more time and the person stopped in his tracks. I yelled for him and I said, “Do you see me?” And he said, “Yes.” I said, “Help.””

      Lorenzana “Lonnie” Haynes, Bellevue Resident
    • “The only thing we could see was water, that’ the only thing we could see is the water coming up and it was coming up, it was still rising. My oldest daughter, she’s really mature in the mind, and she says, “Mom are we gonna die? I think we’re gonna die today.” In my mind, I was thinking, “I think it too.””

      Lori Harrington, Bellevue Resident
    • “We told them we needed water, so a few hours later the Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter, you could hear it overhead, and Danny and I were standing outside, I was on the deck, he was standing in the front yard an we waved at him, at the helicopter. And when we waved at the helicopter, he circled above our house and came over the water and then landed in the field right next to our deck. So the helicopter was loaded with water and they, we unloaded it for the neighbors.”

      Beth Davenport, Ashland City Resident