This footage from the Fort Worth Police Historical Association captures flooding in Fort Worth and surrounding neighborhoods during the floods of May, 1949. Residents wade through rising waters carrying furniture and other belongings to higher ground as others steer motor boats and rafts along the flooded city streets. Other sequences follow emergency workers tending to a flood victim and flooding at the bustling intersection of 7th Avenue, University Drive, Camp Bowie Boulevard, and Bailey Avenue. The flood sequences are followed by footage of what appears to be motor boat racing or training exercises held on a swollen river as spectators look on.
From the Denton Record-Chronicle, May 18, 1919
On the night of May 16th, 1949, a slow moving frontal storm moved in over the Fort Worth region, dumping a foot of rain onto the city at a rate of nearly an inch an hour is some areas. Despite the levees and other flood-protection measures put in place after decades of struggle with the Trinity River, the river overflowed along the Clear Fork and West Fork, pouring water into the city of Fort Worth. The area’s worst flood since 1922, the Associated Press described the scene on May 18th, as the waters began to recede:
“As the flood waters lowered, police, airmen and National Guardsmen, patrolling against looting were allowing credential-bearing residents to wade to their inundated homes or business houses…
Searchers continued to work the flooded area in boats and afoot. Hospitals reported they had treated 30 flood victims the majority for shock and exposure.
The Red Cross survey committee, headed by Col. Andrew F. Price, late yesterday estimated the number of homeless as 13,000. Police Chief R. E. Dysart estimated that at the peak of the flood one tenth of the city's total area was under water...
As Fort Worth struggled back to normal it faced this situation:
Areas west, north and east of the business district under water.”