Eyes on the Ohio River Flooding

Blog Photo

Feb 22, 2018

From our perch overlooking the Ohio River, we can see the water creeping over its banks. Villa Madonna Academy and its sponsors, the Benedictine Sisters of Saint Walburg Monastery, have watched the waters of the Ohio River ebb and flow for more than a century. 


In the devastating flood of 1937, Villa Madonna became a Red Cross Flood Relief Station. A letter in the Kenton County Public Library archives from Covington resident, Charles F. Wolking, to his brother, Richard Wolking, in Hamilton, Ohio describes the situation. 

Last Sunday morning I sent you some pictures out of the papers with pencil notations on them telling about a flood we were having here. Well that was no flood‑‑it was just starting or rather got started last Sunday afternoon. About three hours after I sealed your envelope we were packing our clothes getting ready to leave and Sunday night I got the kids out to the Villa Madonna and Antoinette and I held fast to our little ark at 1718 Garrard wondering what would happen. That Sunday goes down in history along the Ohio as “Black Sunday” and what a Sunday it was. 

In 1997, when the Ohio River crested at 64.7' many families in nearby Bromley were forced from their homes. We found this article in the Kentucky Post. 

As the floodwaters continue to rise, members of the Bromley Fire Department patrolled the city in a small boat dubbed the “minnow.” Residents in the flooded areas were encouraged to leave their property. Other members began collecting food, clothing and cleaning supplies at the firehouse. Three residents who had been forced from their homes had taken up residence in the city hall. Many others were given shelter by the Benedictine Sisters at Villa Madonna Academy in Villa Hills.

Villa and its Benedictine Sisters have a rich history in the community. For more on Villa's history, click here.