Leo McIlrath (interview)

Dublin Core



1 cassette (120 minute stock)


Leo McIlrath recalls the Danbury floods of 1955.



Oral History Item Type Metadata


Redding, Benjamin
Rollins, Eric


McIlrath, Leo


23 minutes

Time Summary

0-10 mins:
Personal account of the flood; junior in high school at time; had been babysitting for his brother; his brother told him of his difficulties getting home; worked for about an hour to divert water from basement of a neighbor; only thought it was a heavy rain at time; Water level; came on Main St. for a few days; Officer Keating; died during the flood; had a heart attack; Severity of flood; Heaviest part of flood; Risdon's off East Franklin St.; no one was allowed to go down Main St.; Personal story; his mother brought food for son; in; law and co; workers but not allowed to go down Main St. to give it to him; had to give it to an officer to give to her son; in; law; War Memorial and the Red Cross; the basement of war memorial had civil defense area (now in city hall); working on plan and strategy of how to combat the flood; Flood damage; not sure exact amount of economic costs; several places had to be torn down because of structural damage; Economy before the flood; it was an active area; it was safe and used to always go there before flood; Renewal project; he was finishing high school and going off to college; he came back to a new Danbury; Mayor Arconti worked hard in getting Danbury rebuilt; Community; people came together to help each other out;

10-20 mins:
Reconstruction of White St.; the Youth Club he went to as a kid not there now; first introduction to other cultures; played games and other activities; was a great support system; Memories of Danbury; misses the old buildings; remembers businesses that are no longer there, like hotels; many areas are/were beautiful; one side of White St. stayed same, other side changed dramatically; Commemoration of Flood; not sure of anything the city plans on doing yet; After the flood; people given permission to walk around area w/in a few days; WestConn; went to high school in White Hall; Downtown area; was the hardest hit area in Danbury


McIlrath, Leo. “Leo McIlrath (interview).” Herb Janick Papers, MS012. WCSU Archives, 1 Aug. 2019. Accessed on the Web: 17 Jan. 2020.



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