About the Collection

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  • As soon as the library reopened after the flood, staff members began collecting materials to document the historic aspects of the event. The Special Collections Division, in partnership with institutions throughout the city, collected 173 oral histories as well as many still images, text, audio video and documents of the aftermath. These items became the Flood 2010 Collection, which is now open to the public in the Special Collections Division at the Main branch of Nashville Public Library. The content on this site is just a sampling of the numerous resources housed in this collection.
  • Phases

    Phase One: City Officials and First Response Teams

    These interviews including conversations with government officials like Mayor Karl Dean, police officers, emergency dispatchers, fire fighters, emergency management managers, and others that responded immediately to the flooding throughout the city. They give details of the city's response and rescue effort during the flood as well as the relief programs developed afterward.

    Phase Two: Business and Community Members

    These interviews focused on personal experiences and included conversations with residents that were displaced due to the flooding, relief workers from across the country, as well as community leaders like professors, religious leaders, and community center directors. These interviews lend a personal voice to the disaster by talking about destruction of property, the struggles to rebuild and the way that Nashville came together.

  • Share Your Experience

    • “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
    • “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
    • “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
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