The looming of Hurricane Irene is sending people back to the archives for information and pictures on similar events in Hartford history. The State Library, for instance, has kindly posted its photos of the 1938 hurricane. Meanwhile, WTNH-TV (News 8) state Capitol reporter Mark Davis has written about the 1936 floods. Hartford had always been prone to flooding, but it was these two events that finally led to construction of the current dikes along the Connecticut River and the underground piping of the Hog River, which flowed through downtown and out into the Connecticut. That work, by the way, was federally funded.
For some perspective on just how high the river rose in '36 and '38, here's a photo I took a couple of years ago at Riverside Park, where they have plaques indicating the high-water marks for major floods.