Flooding inspires change in MD

BY JOSHUA SKILLINGTON | POINT OF ROCKS, MD | September 21, 2001


Vernon Shores

grew up in Point of Rocks, MD with his mother Lettie.

Both live there now. Lettie has a house by the Potomac

River. Every time the river floods, her house is nearly

submerged. "When the water comes in the front door, I go

out the back door," she said.

Lettie is 93 and has lived in Point of Rocks all her

life. She is now blind and her son Vernon helps her move

all of her furnishings out each time before a flood

hits. Lettie's house has been flooded 10-15 times to

date.

While buying out homes of other residents along that

precarious stretch of the river, the county has agreed

to let her remain in her home undisturbed until she dies.

Her son Vernon, who lives farther back from the river's

edge, isn't moving either. The water in his house was at

51 inches in January 1996 and 54 inches in September of

the same year. "I've known it was going to get me at

least once in my lifetime, but I'm so used to it from my

mother's over there, I said I'm not going to let that

stop me from staying," said Vernon.

Whenever there is a flood, Vernon changes his house

around with the help of some close friends. He says that

he never worries about the next flood because he knows

what changes he wants to make to his home.

The Shores are among more than 20 residents in Point of

Rocks, MD that have been flooded out of their homes on

several occasions. The county is buying their houses so

that it won't have to pay to repair them after flood

damage repeatedly occurs.

The residents are not required to sell their homes. It

is a voluntary act and the county is offering them a

fair price. The residents, who have decided to stay, are

periodically urged to sell. Sold houses will be

destroyed and the area will be made into a park.

The houses were built in the 1800s so historical

researchers were called to determine if the houses had

any historical value. The researchers came to the

conclusion that they did not therefore granted approval

for the demolition.


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