The Swift River is known for the massive floods during the 1930s (1932-1940), which nearly brought the only major settlement, which shares the same name, to extinction.
The town of Swift River was once one of the most thriving communities in the parish.
The village was a commercial, civic and cultural centre, and the weekend meeting place for residents of Buff Bay, Hope Bay, Port Antonio and other parts of the parish. Small farmers in Swift River and the surrounding communities contributed to the lucrative banana industry that Portland then enjoyed.
Recovery from the floods was slow, but the spirit that once made Swift River a vibrant community was not dead. In September 1988 Hurricane Gilbert struck setting back efforts to rebuild. With the financial help of the Environmental Foundation of Jamaica (EFJ), the community now boasts facilities that are used extensively by environmentally conscious agencies.