Agnes Flood Remembered by Isle of Que Resident Jim Charles

Jim Charles, Isle of Que, on Agnes flooding

Isle of Que Resident Recounts Agnes Flood


SELINSGROVE – It was a benchmark in our area’s history that changed a lot of lives…Isle of Que resident and former banker Jim Charles told WKOK recently during an interview on the 50th anniversary of the 1972 flood from Hurricane Agnes, “On the Isle of Que we lost Sheetz’ Grocery Store, we had a playground, we had a skating rink ‘Little Norway,’ and we had the old canal bed.”

Charles says his family evacuated from their home at the time and weren’t allowed back until local authorities deemed it safe. He got a bolt cutter and freed his boat from the chains put on it by the borough.  Charles says he was angry about that at the time and says he’d handle future major floods differently.

“You need to be in your house when that water starts to recede. My dad and I hopped in the boat and we motored over. People were yelling at us at the time. Every flood since then I have never left the Isle of Que, but I will always have a boat and motor. No one will ever have to come and get me. If I’m ready to leave, I’ll leave.”

But he also says times are different now with many protections, and even the makeup of the river has changed, “And that is because of upstream development in the watershed. We’ve channelized the river. It has to go somewhere so when it comes down here, it creates its own flood plain and we keep increasing the flood plain maps. More families have to have flood insurance.”

You can hear excerpts of his interview on the WKOK podcast page.


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