As the 50th anniversary of remnants of Hurricane Camille dealing a devastating blow to Nelson County approaches, The (Lynchburg) News & Advance recounts the memories of those who lived through the storm, honors those who aided in the recovery, and remembers the lives lost on Aug. 19-20, 1969.
Fifty years ago this year, just after dark on Aug. 19, 1969, rain began to fall in Nelson County. The remnants of Hurricane Camille had arrived — without warning, while many residents already were in bed for the night, dumping an estimated 25 to 30 inches of rain over five hours.
Editor's note: Some of the photo captions in this gallery were updated in September 2017 thanks to the assistance of Dick Whitehead, board member of the Nelson County Historical Society.
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1969-08 Camille - Bridge
A young boy stands at the bridge across the Tye River along Virginia 151 in Roseland near the 151 and 56 intersection that was washed away by the floodwaters in August 1969.
1969-08 Camille - House
Part of a house that was destroyed by the floodwaters near Davis Creek in Nelson County in August 1969.
U.S. 29 North of the town of Amherst at the Buffalo River after the devastating flooding.
1969-08 Camille - Massie's Mill house
This house in Massies Mill was moved from its foundation by the floodwaters in August 1969 and landed on two cars.
A look at the inside of the kitchen of a house in Massie's Mill after the flood waters from remnants of Hurricane Camille receded.
Howardsville after remnants of Hurricane Camille devasted Nelson County.
Bland Harvey's house
The house that belonged to Bland Harvey, in Roseland, was lifted off of its foundation and landed on its side by the floodwaters.
A utility worker receives a typhoid shot as a precaution from a public health nurse along Virginia 56 in Wingina after the flooding.
The damage from flooding due to remnants of Hurricane Camille in August 1969 to U.S. 29 just north of Lovingston at Eades Hollow.
A vehicle in the water of Ruckers Run along U.S. 29. just south of Nelson County High School. The car contained four passengers. Three were rescued. One, Cecil Graves, 30, of Danville, died.
A cleanup worker pours the water from his boot.
The devastation along Davis Creek.
Davis Creek at Woods Mill
Markers along Davis Creek at Woods Mill in Nelson County show the safest route across the receding waters for vehicles to travel across what was part of U.S. 29.
U.S. National Guard helicopters landing along U.S. 29 near Lovingston in Nelson County after flooding from remnants of Hurricane Camille.
An overhead view of the command center set up along U.S. 29 in Lovingston.
The gym of the Nelson County High School was used to house those who lost their homes in the flooding and to house the rescue workers. Other area schools, such as Lovingston Elementary, also were used.
Grace Episcopal Church
Grace Episcopal Church in Massies Mill. The lectern from the church was found on the James River near Wingina and later returned.
Workers begin the cleanup and restoration of U.S. 29 north of Lovingston after flooding from remnants of Camille. In the background, mountainsides can be seen from where mudslides happened.
U.S. 29 at Rucker's Run
Looking north along U.S. 29 at Ruckers Run.
A view of the Tye River along the Nelson and Amherst counties line looked east toward the railroad bridge.
Lea Brothers business
Massies Mill after floodwaters receeded from the remnants of Hurricane Camille. This is a picture of Lea Brothers business along Virginia 56.
Cement truck in the Buffalo River
A cement truck in the Buffalo River that was one of four washed downstream from a local concrete plant from the floodwaters of remnants of Hurricane Camille.
A picture of the washed out bridge over the Buffalo River along Virginia 778 just south of Henley's Store and north of U.S. 60. Henley's store was demolished by the floodwaters.
Ed Tinsley at the Command Center in Lovingston
A picture of Davis Creek near Huffman Hollow in Nelson County. The x's mark where the Huffman houses stood before the floodwaters washed them away. The Huffman family lost 21 members the night of the flood.
A house was washed down from the mountain and into the median along U.S. 29 just north of Lovingston.
This is a view looking north along U.S. 29 of Muddy Creek and the damage it caused to the highway between Woods Mill and Livingston.
Davis Creek and Muddy Creek
This is a view of the destruction looking north along U.S. 29 at the confluence of Davis Creek and Muddy Creek near Woods Mill.
This view is of U.S. 29 looking south, south of Nelson County High School, at Ruckers Run.
Tye River Depot
The destruction at Tye River Depot near U.S. 29. In the back, the new railroad bridge is being built. The old one, which was washed away by the floodwaters, is lying in the Tye River in the foreground.
Eades Hollow, one mile north of Lovingston along U.S. 29.
A car partially submerged by the floodwaters in Massies Mill near Lea Brothers store.
Lea Brothers store
Lea Brothers store in Massies Mill along Virginia 56 where the floodwaters ran over the road. This photo was taken at daybreak Aug. 20, 1969.
Flood waters over Va. 56
Floodwaters over Virginia 56 in Massies Mill at daybreak Aug. 20, 1969.
1969-08 Camille - Front Street
The view of Front Street in Lovingston after the remnants of Hurricane Camille in August 1969.
1969-08 Camille - U.S. 29 at Eades Hollow
The damage to U.S. 29 just north of Lovingston at Eades Hollow.
U.S. 29 near Woods Mill
Debris piled up along U.S. 29 near Woods Mill where Virginia 6 merges with U.S. 29.
The devastation along Davis Creek in Nelson County from remnants of Hurricane Camille.
A top view of the command station set up along U.S. 29 in Lovingston after the flooding.
Sheriff Bill Whitehead
Sheriff Bill Whitehead speaks with members of the Virginia State Police and other rescue workers at the central command that was set up for the rescue and cleanup efforts after flooding along U.S. 29 in Lovingston.
Bridge at Howardsville
The bridge across the James River at Howardsville along Virginia 602 after the August 1969 flooding.
Wells-Sheffield Funeral Home
Right, Wells-Sheffield Funeral Home in Lovingston. At left is the refrigerated trailer in which the bodies were kept after they were recovered from the flood.
Downtown Lynchburg at Adams Street during the August 1969 flooding.
Flooding in the aftermath of the heavy rain spawned by remnants of Hurricane Camille.
Six Mile Bridge
An official guides a truck full of people through 4 feet of water at Six Mile Bridge.
A crane that toppled over during the construction of the replacement railroad bridge at Tye River Depot.
Buena Vista Rescue Squad
The Buena Vista Rescue Squad operates during flooding caused by remnants of Hurricane Camille in August 1969. The storm is known to have dumped more than 20 inches of rain on some parts of Nelson County in less than 12 hours.
Mrs. James D. Higginbotham, of Tyro, points to the 31-inch mark on a yardstick to show the world-record rainfall that was measured in her trash barrel in the background during the disastrous passing of the remnants of Hurricane Camille on Aug. 20, 1969. It took over a year to locate the barrel after U.S. Weather Bureau officials were unable to pinpoint the site of the owner as a result of confusion after the floods.