The heavy rains of this past weekend’s Nor’Easter has left Peabody residents combatting rising waters on the city’s streets. The recent three-day barrage of rain has caused considerable flooding in and around Peabody Square. This weekend’s flooding is just the latest in a series of noteable floods to hit downtown Peabody within the last century.

Flood of c. 1902:

Little is known about the flooding of downtown Peabody in c. 1902, but it was so momentous an occasion to the city’s residents that they not only documented it, they chose to include photographs of the event in the Century Chest, a time-capsule of letters, papers, artifacts,  and photographs that was placed in a vault in the Peabody Institute Library in 1902 and opened a century later in 2002.  As we see in these photographs, Foster Street was as prone to flooding then as it is now.

The Flood of 1954: In May of 1954, the dam of the Eastman Gelatin Corp. burst. The North River was at high tide at the time. The result was a flood so devestating that it was called the worst non-fatal disaster to hit Peabody. Flooding was so severe along Foster Street that the United States Coast Guard was called in. They used their amphibious duck to rescue residents stranded by the high water on their fire escapes and rooftops. Peabody’s schoolchildren took advantage of their unexpected holiday from school and frolicked in the floodwater in front of  Peabody City Hall.

The heading for this photograph when it appeared in the newspaper read "Foster Street Got It First - Worst - Longest."Foster Street, 1954

Foster Street by canoe, 1954

Children Playing on Flooded Lowell Street outside City Hall

May 14, 2006: The “Mother’s Day Flood.”: In May of 2006, several days of rain beseiged many cities and towns from Boston to the North Shore. The Ipswich River in Peabody crested on Sunday, May 14, 2006, Mother’s Day. As in 1954, the National Guard had to be called in to evacuate and rescue people stranded in their cars and homes.

National Guard humvee makes its way through flooded Peabody street.

Fireman rescuing a stranded motorist

Flood of 2010: From March 12 to the 14th, a three-day Nor’Easter hit the East Coast from New York to New England. Heavy rains and gusting winds caused so much damage and flooding that Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency. Once again, Foster Street found itself partially under water.