Our Own Superstorm

Tuesday 20 August 2013 marks the 44th anniversary of one of the most destructive natural disasters in Virginia history, Hurricane Camille.

The first “official” Category 5 hurricane to hit the U.S., Camille came ashore along the Gulf of Mexico coast in August 1969, continuing northeastward to cause catastrophic flooding in Western Virginia.  Over 100 people were killed in just Nelson County (between Lexington and Charlottesville).   You can find books and other materials about Camille in the library catalog and here is a Washington Post retrospective.

An employee of the Virginia Highway Department, Raymond J. Kirby, captured the destruction in the Rockbridge County area in at least 150 photographs.   You can see an example below.  Earlier this summer, a generous Lexington resident, Danny Hall, donated to the W&L University Library’s Special Collections a set of scrapbooks containing these images, as well as newspaper clippings and other materials.

This fascinating collection, described here, is available in the Special Collections area in Leyburn Library.  Please contact Special Collections’ staff (540-458-8649) if you have any questions.

KirbyScrapbook_Camille_Flood_BuenaVista_1969_#1 (3)

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