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Agnes prepares Knoebels family for weather challenges

The Knoebels say the flood of 1972 set the tone for how they have responded to other weather events at the park.

ELYSBURG, Pa. — June 21, 1972 was Senior Citizens Day at Knoebels Amusement Resort near Elysburg. It was a rainy day at the park, according to Dick and Buddy Knoebel, and early the next morning, everything changed.

"We had the surprise of our lives in a way," Buddy said.

Hurricane Agnes flooded the amusement park. Dick and Buddy remember it well.

"We started trying moving things, but we started moving the wrong things. We started trying to rescue motors. We should have rescued merchandise and records," Dick said.

Dick remembers an employee getting stuck inside a cottage while another rescue happened at the park's skating rink.

"Had a piece of slab wood and tied it around the rope. We got that to him and pulled him through that rushing current," Dick said.

Other communities did not flood until the following day. By that time, Knoebels was in clean-up mode.

Dick and Buddy remember something their uncle said to them at the time, "You know boys? We better clean it up. Nobody will buy it this way," Dick said.  

Buddy said he doesn't think his uncle has any intention of selling the resort, but "his point was well made."

"Let's not sit and look at it, we've gotta get cleaned up," Buddy said.

The park was closed for nine days. Since many people in the Coal Region could not get to their jobs, they pitched in at Knoebels, helping with the clean-up effort.

"They didn't want to be paid, but we tried our best to pay everyone in one form or another," Buddy said.

The Knoebels tell Newswatch 16 that Agnes prepared them to deal with other floods that have since happened at the park.

Employees are trained on what to do when the park starts to flood.

"When the water starts coming up, they react, they know that this is going to be a problem, that's not going to be a problem. Let's not do that, let's do this. We've been able to head off a lot of the damage of the more recent flooding," Buddy said.

The Knoebels say they hope something like Agnes does not happen again, but they know that it might, and they are prepared if it does.  

See more stories about Hurricane Agnes on the WNEP YouTube channel.

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