Sharpe flyer

Up Sharpe flyer workshop registration

   History Afternoons at the Deerfield Teachers’ Center presents:

The Mill River Flood of 1874  

“A riveting tale of a small-town disaster wrought by industrialization…A cautionary tale for our fast-changing, cost-cutting times…A vivid portrait of a bygone era, marked by trust in business leaders and deep suspicion of government regulation…” – Simon & Schuster

 Teachers please note: This workshop addresses MASS Frameworks in history and science and can be counted toward pdp requirements.


 Early one Saturday morning, in May 1874, the dam holding back a reservoir high in the Williamsburg hills of Massachusetts suddenly burst. A towering floodwave crashed down the valley, sweeping up trees and boulders, waterwheels and turbines, cows and horses, houses and human beings. Within forty-five minutes, the four mill villages between Williamsburg and Northampton and their factories were washed away. The valley and the nation were stunned.  

How could this tragedy have happened?  What insights does it offer into America ’s golden age of industrialization and our still uneasy relationship with technological advancement? Drawing on contemporary newspaper reports, eyewitness accounts, and legal records, Elizabeth Sharpe discusses the forces behind what the Springfield Daily Republican, The New York Tribune, and magazines like Harper’s and Frank Leslie’s declared “the largest flood caused by a dam failure America had ever seen.”

  A Presentation by Elizabeth Sharpe – Public Invited  


Tuesday, May 24th, 2005 , 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. , $35

Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, 10 Memorial St. , Deerfield , MA , 01342 . Please make checks payable to PVMA.  

To register, call Karen Kappenman at 413-774-7476, ext. 28 or email her at Mail checks to 10 Memorial St. Box 428 , Deerfield , MA . 01342. Limited seating – please register early!

The Deerfield Teachers’ Center is funded in part by the Institute of Museum & Library Services