Friday Flashback #195

In the first weekend of June 1982 — during a full moon — up to 8 inches of rain pounded the area. Across the state, rivers and lakes flooded. Dams broke; 38,000 customers lost power. Seven people died. More than 1,300 others were evacuated from their homes.

It was the worst flooding here since 1955.

Downtown — where water runs underneath the Post Road, from Sconset Square to near Bay Street — a drama unfolded.

According to the New York Times: 

Christa Lawrence, 13, of Westport, tried to cross a narrow, rushing stream called Dead Man’s Creek and was swept downstream and into a low, 150-foot-long underground tunnel.

Deadman Brook at Sconset Square, near where Christa Lawrence was swept away…

”I thought I was going to die any second,” she said. ”The current was pulling me under, and I lost track of up or down. I couldn’t breathe. Every time I tried to go up for air, I hit my head on the top of the tunnel.”

One of her friends, Steve Treadway, 14, ran to the opposite end of the tunnel and, holding onto a tree with one hand, grabbed her as she swept out and pulled her to safety. Covered with sand and dirt, she was taken to Norwalk Hospital and treated for shock, cuts and bruises.

”Now I know why it’s called Dead Man’s Creek,” Miss Lawrence said.

… and the area near Bay Street, behind 180 Post Road East, where she was pulled out.

I remember that well. It was a scary weekend, and Christa nearly did not make it.

But I have two questions: Isn’t it a brook — not a creek?

And isn’t it “Deadman” — named for the Deadman family — and not “Dead Man’s”?!

(Hat tip: Elaine Marino)

3 responses to “Friday Flashback #195

  1. Mary Schmerker

    Morely Boyd will know. But I am under the impression that it is Dead Man’s Brook and not named after a family. I don’t believe that it ever flooded before the Saugatuck Congregational Church was moved across the Post Road and their parking lot expanded.

  2. “The key difference between brook and creek is their size and depth. Brooks are typically smaller and shallower than creeks.

    Brooks and creeks are two types of streams or moving bodies of water, which are usually smaller than rivers. Although many people assume that these two words are synonyms, there is a distinct difference between brook and creek“

    From a Difference Between website

  3. As I recall, the girl was sitting on the bridge over Deadman’s Brook on Myrtle when she somehow fell in. I’ve heard different stories about the brook’s name – including the one that it’s named for the Deadman family and the one that it refers to a dead British regular whose body was found in the brook. The second is more interesting but the first is more probable.
    Fun fact: a town-wide flood/stream study in the 1970’s by the Army Corp of Engineers found that Deadman’s had the highest recorded velocity and pronounced the brook “the most dangerous water course in Westport”.

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