Friday, November 20, 2009

1937 Flood and NDA

Annals are kept for each institution the Sisters of Notre Dame are engaged in. The account below is from the Annals of the Sisters at NDA. If you've ever wondered about how the flood affected the school since it was so close to the river, the entries may answer your questions.


The month of January sped along, bringing with it an unusual amount of rain and snow. Examination time drew near, and the Religion tests were scheduled for Friday, January 22. A few girls who arrived early informed the sisters that the river was so high that they were worried
about getting home in the evening. They were certain that the bridges would be closed before noon, so rapidly was the water rising in both the Ohio and the Licking rivers. While they were giving graphic word pictures of the flood stages, and while the skies grew blacker with heavy rain-clouds, telephone calls kept coming in to the academy from all directions: "N.N. will not be able to come to school today, the roads are closed," or "...street-cars not running," or...we are afraid she will be unable to get back in the afternoon." It was then decided to make a hasty telephone broadcast that there would be no classes that day.

It was indeed wise that this was done. All day the rain continued. The river passed the flood stage of 1874, namely, 72 feet, and it continued to rise at the rate of one foot each hour. Feverishly, all day and all night, people in the flooded areas worked to save property and

Saturday dawned very clear and bright and cold. A white cover of snow mantled everything. If only the rain had ceased then! But---

Sunday, January 24 dawned, bringing the heaviest and most continued rainfall that had been recorded for many a day. This day has gone down in history as "Black Sunday." The flood waters were doing their work. All radio programs were canceled to allow stricken cities along the
Ohio and tributary rivers to broadcast their distress and call for help. Electricity (except for radio), gas, and water, were portioned off in all stricken cities. Whole towns were being inundated, including Dayton Kentucky, Newton Ohio, Lawrenceburg Indiana. Louisville Kentucky seemed to be in a particularly pitiful plight. Incessant calls for help sounded over the radio from that city. "Life-boats needed at .... Please send life-boats!" Many lives were lost there.
Cairo, Indiana fought a harrowing fight against the rising waters for a week, as the water reached the very edge of the high wall which had been built to protect their city from floods. Cairo lies at the junction of the Ohio and the Mississippi. By building the wall higher with sandbags, and by letting the water into the city at certain places (where it rushed in like a geyser) they were able to save their city from complete destruction. Poor Covington was greatly damaged by the flood water, also, but not much broadcasting of their distress was made. The water would have out off all communication over the Suspension bridge, had not an artificial road been maintained by means of sandbags. The Licking River waters did untold damage to valuable residential property, as well as to St. Elizabeth Hospital. Homes that were thought to be beyond the reach of high water, were submerged up to the first floor, while those nearer the river were in water up to their smoke pipes. LaSelette Academy was surrounded by water. St. Patrick Church was badly damaged, the water flooding the body of the church. Monday, the flood stage reached 79-4. Mother Mary Angela, Sisters Mary Oliva and Maximina were able to come in for a short visit. The residents at St. Joseph Heights are suffering, perhaps more than we at the Academy, from shortage of water, light, and gas. In the days that followed, the waters crept closer and closer to the Academy, until they were but one half-square away. By measuring the water in a drain-pipe,
it was found that it was within about one foot of backing into our basement.
The Elks, the Red Cross, the Knights of Columbus, the Salvation Army, and many smaller organizations have opened relief stations. During these days we sisters are studying, praying and doing what work we can; in the evenings, we study for a while by candle-light as only one light (electric) may be used, and that, as little as necessary.

Tuesday, January 26
The flood stage today is 80’ and is now at a stand-still. The radio broadcasts still continue to call for distress from all points of the flooded area. Father Laux's church in Sandfordtown, Kentucky, is a sorry sight. Water has completely covered the pews; confessionals and statues are floating around, and the high altar is tipped forward. Walls and stations are ruined. Corpus Christi Church and Immaculate Conception Church, both in Newport have suffered the same damage. Practically the whole lower "corner" of Newport is a mass of debris.
Martial Law has been declared in Covington, not because there was any disorderly behavior, but to facilitate help, and to keep crowds from gathering where relief work must be carried on.
The water and electric supply is still limited. Water must be boiled as there is now the danger of epidemics--typhoid and dyphtheria.

Friday, January 29
Today the flood waters are beginning, slowly, to recede. Two Sisters ventured forth down Russell Street to see Mr. Liedhegner's bakery shop at the corner. He has been having the water pumped out of his shop. Meanwhile, he has been using the Academy kitchen in which to do his baking--by night. While looking at the flooded houses, a man addressed Sr. M. Edmund and asked her if she would accept some milk which had been offered for relief purposes, and which
he had been unable to dispose of. He brought fifteen gallons of this milk to the academy.

Sunday, January 31
We had Holy Hour with the Blessed Sacrament exposed, in order- to pray for the sufferers in the inundated districts.

Monday, February 1
The water supply continued to be less and less. Today there were street cave-ins, one at Ninth and Philadelphia Streets, and one on Dalton Street. The street and sidewalks literally disappeared for depths of from 10 to 25 feet, but no property was damaged.

Tuesday, February 2
Today, the feast of the Purification, we had another Holy Hour, this time in honor of Jesus, "The Light of the World," in order to pray that the Convention of the godless, in Moscow, should
come to naught. We had a Candlemas procession in chapel. Father Metzler, our chaplain, who had been sick since January 22, was able to be present at these devotions.

February 8: School Reopens
This morning, after two weeks' forced vacation, school activities began again. As drinking water was scarce, and polluted, we would have had to supply boiled drinking water to the girls, had we not been fortunate in having a cistern well filled with fresh water on our premises. The girls supplied themselves with paper drinking cups, and water was set out for them in large jugs.
There will be no free days announced for Lincoln's and Washington's birthdays this year!

Tuesday, March 2
This morning while classes were in session, just about ten after ten, the building was suddenly shaken by a slight earth-quake. Almost everybody in the building felt the shock.

Tuesday, March 9
Just a week following the first shock, a second earthquake occurred in our vicinity, at 12:45 midnight. This quake was more prolonged and severe than the first. Some of the Sisters were really frightened. What with floods, earthquakes, sand-storms, and locusts, not to mention the fire which threatened Notre Dame Academy last (Oct. 8 –crossed wires in a wall), the Sisters hardly know what to expect next.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Building Campaign, 1960 Style

Among the many newspaper articles from the building campaign of the 1960 in the N.D.A. Archives is the one featured below. The photo is of John J. O'Hara and Gilbert Kingsbury, chairman and associate chairman of the fund drive. This photo was taken around the time of the article's appearance.

The Kentucky Post
And Times-Star

Kentucky Office, 421 Madison Ave.. Covington HEmlock 1-1100

MONDAY, APRIL 11, 1960

Notre Dame‘s Cause Needs Support
The good sisters at Notre Dam6 Academy in Covington have undertaken a monumental task--a drive to raise $1 million for a new school to replace the present antiquated structure on Fifth street.
That larger quarters are needed is something that has become general knowledge over the years.
The academy was erected in 1876, originally as an elementary school. Gradually more and more space was required to meet the needs of increased enrollment. Eventually, the teaching sisters themselves were forced to give up their own quarters and take up residence in a small area just under the roof of the five-story building, an emergency situation that the fire department hopes can be remedied.
Since the beginning of the high school program in 1906, the same old structure has been remodeled and adapted to meet trends and changes in educational requirements. For a long time, enrollment has been greatly restricted.
Remodeling no longer is feasible. The sisters have undertaken a great task in an attempt to construct a new building on the grounds of St. Joseph Heights, their Provincial House on the Dixie Highway, Park Hills. We wish them success.
* * *
Notre Dame, as a high school for girls, has been a valuable asset to the community. Despite its inadequate facilities, it has excelled in educating its students and has been so recognized by accrediting organizations. The phrase "'a Notre Dame girl" has come to have much underlying meaning for northern Kentuckians, especially among businessmen seeking new employees, and justifiably so. The qualities of Christian womanhood displayed by the graduates
have earned fine reputation for the school.
And so it is with a feeling that the community owes much to the work of these good sisters at Notre Dame and that the school serves so well in the field of education, we take this occasion to wish them every success in their drive for $1 million. The task they have undertaken is colossal and this is the first time they have ever gone to the public in such a concerted drive for help.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Sister Mary Reina, S.N.D. Award Recipient

NDA's Women Making a Difference banquet this year featured something different, but long overdue--the recognition in the form of an award, of a woman who has made a very distinct difference in the lives of many students of Notre Dame over the years. The award has been dubbed the Sister Mary Reina Arlinghaus Merit Award and Sister herself has been its first recipient. Sister Mary Reina Arlinghaus, not an alum of the Academy, served on the faculty from 1947 to 1997 as Art teacher. Aspects of daily maintenance of the school plant were also on her agenda for those years. Her service to the school and her influence certainly did not end as those 50 years drew to a close, however. Mentoring of a new art teacher and assisting with the Art Club kept Sister Mary Reina with the arts in the school for several more years. Sister's voice is still heard on the intercom each morning around 7:40 inviting students to join her in the chapel to begin the school day with a decade of the Rosary.

Sister was born and raised in Cincinnati, the oldest of four children. In the picture from her childhood, she is with her sister Mil. While a girl, Mary Ethel Arlinghaus dreamed of being a nurse. As a teacher, Sister Mary Reina Arlinghaus has brought healing to countless students and faculty over the years. This is accomplished through her gifts of encouragement, of concern for others, and of healing wounds of hurt. Her instruction in art has opened within many students the realization of their own abilities in creating beauty. And the sharing goes on. Today Sister is still teaching art in weekly classes at Prince of Peace Grade School, at St. Joseph Heights with a group of S.N.D.s, and at the academy with a gathering of friends. Making a difference is old hat to Sister Mary Reina, one we hope she wears for many more years.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

A Memory of 1905

Several years ago, alums were asked to write something they recalled of their years at NDA. A 1907 alumna, Mary VonHandorf, wrote the account that follows. It is interesting to note a few facts first--that part of the "grounds" referred to was the future St. Joseph Heights/Notre Dame Academy campus, and that the grade school section of NDA Miss VonHandorf attended was closed several years later, in 1937.

"It was Spring of 1905--I was in the 8th grade of Notre Dame Academy. The school closed on the feast of the Ascension, so the class planned a picnic for that day. Mrs. Schlosser, grandmother of one of the girls, let us use her grounds...located next to the Lookout House on Lexington Pike. It was known for its gold fish ponds. We ordered mild, eggs, and ice delivered to her place. So early on Ascension Day we girls started out carrying our lunch, and even our ice cream freezer was carried along. Gradually we left the city streets and came to the big bend, those years it was a dirt road with little gravel. We got to the grounds before noon, and started making the ice cream and home boiled ham sandwiches; we had potato salad, cake, and milk. Oh, the fun we had. It was a beautiful day. The time came when we had to go back to the city again down the big bend. We were tired but happy. The next day our dear Sister Rosalia wanted to know everything we did. Just one of the memories of my school days at Notre Dame Academy."