* The Floods of 1942 and 1972*

Saint Bonaventure has endured many floods since its beginning. This might have been avoided if the friars had listened to the advice of Bishop John Timon. Timon felt that Saint Bonaventure should have been constructed on the other side of the railroad, since the location they had picked was on a flood plain.

On June 5, 1856 he wrote in his diary concerning the flood plain location.

"I object to location already made, mark one on village side of railroad."

Maybe the friars should have listened.

* 1942*

On July 19, 1942, after a series of large rain storms, the Allegany River reached 21.30 ft- the highest
 ever recorded. The river flowed through the towns of Olean, Allegany, Bolivar, Belmont, Bradford, Eldred, Portville, Smethport, and Wellsville. In some areas, there was little to no damage
- while in others it was severe. An estimated 3000 homes were damaged and 15 people killed.


Olean Area Flood

Allegany Area Flood

Pig Rescue at Bonaventure*


Olean Area Flood



* 1972*

On June 23, 1972, Hurricane Agnes hit the east coast causing excessive amounts of damage. Although the Allegany reached 24.20ft (higher than the flood of 1942), the damage was limited to Allegany, Olean, Salamanca, Wellsville and Portville. This did not mean the damage was less. Water topped buildings as well as destroying homes and businesses.


Hopkins Hall (Side)

Hopkins Hall (Front)

Hopkins Hall (Back)

Hopkins Hall (Front)

Wellsville-Jones Memorial Hospita

Doyle Hall (Garage)


Olean Area Flood



Olean Area Flood(Newspaper)

Mount Morris

The top ten highest crests are:
(1) 24.20 ft on 06/23/1972*
(2) 21.30 ft on 07/19/1942*
(3) 17.50 ft on 03/08/1956*
(4) 17.30 ft on 05/29/1946*
(5) 16.60 ft on 01/20/1996*
(6) 16.50 ft on 03/23/1948*
(7) 16.10 ft on 11/27/1950*
(8) 16.00 ft on 01/22/1959*
(9) 15.84 ft on 06/22/1989*
(10) 15.80 ft on 04/07/1947*

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Images from the SBU Archives and clippings from local newspapers.

Rachel Rodriguez- Made for History 419-Spring 2011

For information about the Archives' collections contact:

telephone: 716.375.2322