March 20 – Middletown 366

1936

The Great Flood

Spring snow melt from the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont, combined with heavy rain caused the Connecticut River to flood, with the flood stage reaching 30 feet, six feet higher than the record set in 1854.  Seven hundred residents along the riverfront were evacuated and the displaced slept in the National Guard Armory on Main Street and in the Italian Club on Court Street for a month.  In addition, the flood had devastating economic effects, since many businesses on the first floor of buildings were flooded as well as factories, causing widespread unemployment.

Story contributed by Deborah Shapiro.

Thge Great Flood of 1936
William Street, looking east.

1948

Allie Wrubel Wins Academy Award

On this day, Middletown native Allie Wrubel won an Academy Award for his song “Zip-a-Dee Doo-Dah,” part of the score for Disney’s Song of the South. Born in Middletown in 1905, young Allie Wrubel helped out in his family’s popular women’s apparel store on Main Street, but his main interest was music. After graduating from Wesleyan University, he went to Hollywood. From 1934 to 1946, he was under contract with Warner Bros. to write songs for movie musicals. In the late 1940s, he began writing songs for such movies as Jennifer Jones’s Duel in the Sun, and Burt Lancaster’s I Walk Alone. . He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970. Wrubel died in 1973.

Story contributed by Deborah Shapiro.

Zip -a- dee- doo-dah [6054]

 

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