Thursday, August 28, 2014

the flood

As you walk through the tall grass and tall cottonwoods by the creek it is hard to imagine the community that was here, here before the Flood of '72. Jackson Park subdivision, 40 homes, about 100 people. 

But they are all gone. All but 2 of the 40 houses were washed away that fateful night in the flood which killed 20 in this small subdivision and 238 over the area.

A piece of sidewalk crosses the dirt path. The corner of a foundation sits near an apple tree. 

And a stone doghouse back in the trees. Reminders of the flood, left here on purpose when the Lions Club took over this piece of land to make a park, a memorial to those who died here.

Here in Rapid City there are reminders of the flood everywhere you look.

A survey marker at Canyon Lake marking the high water mark. 

The Journey Museum has film of the flood.

The local library has an extensive collection of flood information, including stories, oral and written, collected from survivors:

I was trying to collect a few things to take, when I saw a trailer float by the window.

It was so dark and the water was so loud - like 4 freight trains going by - the lightning would light up the sky but you couldn't hear the thunder. Houses were floating by, some with people on the roof, some houses would be burning inside. Propane tanks would float by and hit a tree and explode. People were in trees calling for help but there was nothing we could do until the water stopped.

My husband tried to go to work but was turned back, something about a flood - so I turned on the radio and heard, 'If you see a dead body don't touch it.'

We tried to go back to the house in the days following the flood, but the National Guard said we had to have a tetanus shot first.
The three funeral homes in town were inundated with bodies, the dropping off place. Folks would come looking for their loved ones, sometimes having to go to all three sites before finding their family, then to try to identify the bodies. Funeral directors from other towns came to help. The city mandated there was no time for church funerals, just get them in the ground and have a graveside service.

A city defined by a date - June 9-10, 1972, a.k.a. The Flood of '72. 

1 comment:

cindi1111 said...

That is so horrific to read. It must have been much worse to have seen in person. People just cannot imagine the power of water. We have had several floods in the past few years in the Branson area, and it is devastatating. Life is never the same after a flood.