From the BLAND MESSENGER, January 31, 1957:
CRAB ORCHARD LAKE WATERS SWEEP THROUGH BLAND, Damage in Town Estimated $500,000.
“The 23-acre lake project, owned by J. T. Dunn, Jr., is gone. The recreational area and dam site, known as “Crab Orchard” Lake, sprung from its boundary Tuesday at noon, following steady rainfall for three days and nights, sweeping in its path homes, buildings, cars, fences, machinery, livestock, poultry and household equipment, leaving damages at an estimated $500,000 or more in the town of Bland. Not a single physical injury was reported.
First home to be swept away in wake of released dam waters and in direct path was the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Pauley. Parts of the home were found lodged at town bridges and against trees a mile, or father, downstream.
Home of W. N. Tickle, nearby the Pauley residence, had flood damages and outbuildings washed away.
Next in path, homes of Walker Pauley; two apartment dwellings of Percy Curry near town bridge, and home of John Harry Bird—these were damaged by flood water in basements and first floors.
Taking full impact of the fast rolling water, were homes of Miss Sarah Elizabeth Muncy and Mr. and Mrs. Ike Pauley. The Muncy dwelling was flood swept from basement to upper part of first floor. Porch steps and awning on left side of encircling porch were swept away in addition to outbuildings. Cinder block storage building of Ike Pauley’s was moved out in early sweep of water. A parked trailer and truck owned by Pauley were washed off downstream, in addition to extensive damages made to Texaco Filling Station, also owned by Pauley and now under lease to Richardson Bros.
Seddon Service Station, operated by Noel Kidd, on edge of flood water spread, received damage to gasoline tanks and oil reserves. Inside of station was badly damaged. Across street, in water spread was home of Mr. and Mrs. Bill Dillow, damaged on first floor.
The garage and business building of Dun Motors received extensive damage. This building was in path of flood.
Two story bungalow home, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Finley Kitts, that went through a burnout in 1954, was completely flood swept on first floor. A large tree was left hanging through front window, smaller garden building was also washed away.
Homes of Mrs. And Mrs. Walter Bergdoll and Grat Thompson were badly damaged.
One story home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Richardson was moved off its base to a distance of 50 yards, in front of Mrs. Lena Burton’s home, which also received much damage to base floor.
Buildings on Fair Grounds where water spread was largest, were left intact with exception to one small shelter.
The two-story home of Mr. and Mrs. Ray Neal at right of bridge near entrance to Fair Grounds was lifted completely off foundation and moved 200 yards downstream to rest tip-tilted against concrete bridge in lower part of town.
Two-story dwelling of Grat Muncy was moved in high flood water but settled back on foundation as water receded leaving severe damage to all of first floor and out buildings.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. Luther Dillow, across road from lower town bridge left with the lodged Neal home, was almost completely washed away with only a front wall standing.
Damages to the basement of Community building that housed a kitchen and large dining room were extensive.
As flood waters from Crab Orchard area moved farther downstream to enter Walker’s Creek, fences and small buildings on Suiter farm were washed off, or damaged. Water rose to porch level at home of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Dillow.
County Red Cross officials and workers moved early into home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Wright and formed its headquarters offered food and lodging to members of families suffering loss of home, or untold damages, and others working at flood scene.
Flood waters began receding at 2 p.m. only a two-hour stretch for the high flood waters and widespread of its damages.
J. T. Dunn, Jr. offered the following statement to the Citizens of Bland County: “I’m thankful that if the dam had to break, it happened in daylight hours, so people could have sufficient warning to vacate their homes. I would have bet my life that the dam would have withstood any flood. So far, we have no news of physical injuries for which we are most grateful. If there is any way in my power to help the wonderful people of Bland, my heart and home is open to them. Thank God that no one suffered any injuries.”