Thursday, August 19, 2010

James F. Casto

James F. Casto from Huntington, WV spoke at the Wheeling Public Library last Tuesday.  He was a newspaper columnist with about 20 historical books to his credit.  His main topic was the 1937 Flood.

Two things that he mentioned stood out.  When he first started out as a journalist, he used the by-line Jim Casto on his very first article.  His editor told him that, if he only used that name as his by-line, he would probably wind up as a sportswriter.  From then on, he was James F. Casto.

One of his books that he penned was about the Tugboat industry.  His publisher talked him into buying the last 30 copies that they had left from the production run, meaning it was technically out-of-print.  But since everyone recently went to Print-On-Demand, he can get just a few more copies printed up and still make money on them.

To clarify the difference between the 1936 flood and the 1937 flood, the 1936 flood was much higher and caused more damage in the local area reaching a height of 55.1 ft in Wheeling. It was basically caused by an early snow melt in the mountains and occurred in March.

Only 10 months later, a massive storm came over the area and stayed for a while.  It caused more destruction down river in Huntington, Cincinnati, and Louisville.  This was in January, 1937.  It flooded again in Wheeling, but not as bad.  Of course coming so soon behind the other flood caused severe hardship on everyone affected.

We had a number of people in atendance that told us 1st person accounts of what happened when they were 7 and 8 years old.  This was when the Tabernacle building broke free and took 5 houses with it from Wheeling Island. 


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