Flood waters inundate city in 1951

pc1-1951flood

By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News
June 19, 2013

Making the floods of 1903 and 1908 seem insignificant in comparison, is the flood of 1951, which was dubbed “The Great Flood” with the local mantra “May there be no next time.”

Souvenir booklets and postcard folders were published about the flood by enterprising area photographers and authors, such as Jo Anne Graddy, who self-published the photo essay booklet “The 1951 Flood in Greater Kansas City – A Picture Review.”

Another was “Flood Disaster – Kansas City, 1951,” published by Warner Studios of Kansas City. Warner Studios also published a postcard folder with the same title, which is the fourth in our series of Kansas City flood postcards. The description inside reads: “This is the story of the Flood of July 1951, the costliest in the nation’s history, over three-quarters of a billion dollars worth of destruction.

“It is a story dramatized by hundreds of thousands of individual tragedies: by homes and belongings being swept away in the flood waters; by thousands of railroad cars; by huge accumulations of debris; by cattle and livestock swimming aimlessly in the swollen waters in the livestock district; and by submerged bridges, highways and buildings.”

The July 1951 floods were caused by a storm of unusual size and intensity for the central Great Plains. Excessive rainfall in central and western Kansas during May and June of 1951 caused major flooding and saturated the soil, sapping its capacity to absorb any additional rainfall.

On the afternoon of July 9, the rain began to fall heavily and continued through the morning of July 10. Following a brief lull, rain began again the evening of July 10 and continued through July 12. By midnight July 13, unprecedented amounts of rain had fallen since the beginning of the storm. “Black Friday” came on July 13, 1951, when the Kaw River overflowed its dikes in the Argentine district of Kansas City, Kan.

Despite the early warnings, there was no time to save property. More than 15,000 residents trod from their homes in a ragged line with whatever belongings they could carry as flood waters swirled around their ankles, then knees and ultimately inundated the entire district. Armourdale came next, then the Central Industrial District and then the Fairfax area. Some people fled to relatives and friends; others took advantage of the emergency shelters hastily set up by the Civil Defense and the Red Cross. 

pc2-oiltankKaw

 

 

 

Comments are closed.

  • Florida scene warms KC recipient’s winter

    February 3rd, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Originally sent to Miss Josephine Eakins of 3514 Forest Ave. in Kansas City on Feb.


    Airport transformed KC transportation

    January 27th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Kansas City’s Municipal Airport was once a swampy, 687-acre bog located in an ox-bow area along the great bend of the Missouri River.


    Missouri’s home-state railroad

    January 20th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News Published for the Missouri Pacific–Iron Mountain Railway, this promotional postcard shows a picturesque view as described by the caption, “Along the Missouri River for more than 100 miles


    Hotel President still charms downtown Kansas City

    January 13th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News “The Hotel President located at 1329 Baltimore opened in January of 1926 is a magnificent fifteen-story structure incorporating therein all that is best in modern hotel construction.


    Larrapin Lou and the Babe

    January 6th, 2016
    by

    Northeast News George Herman “Babe” Ruth and “Larrapin” Lou Gehrig played in a barnstorming game on Oct.


  • Historic happy holidays

    December 30th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News Happy New Year!
    Sent on Dec. 31, 1905, to Mrs. E. T. Van Winkle of Hornellsville, N.Y., this unusual New Year’s card bears a black-and-white photograph of angels in


    Holy Rosary crib tradition a holiday classic

    December 23rd, 2015
    by

    Northeast News This real photo postcard of the Holy Rosary Church’s Christmas crib was taken during the 1941 holiday season.


    Beauty springs eternal on Historic Northeast’s Cliff Drive

    December 16th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News “Fountain and Cliff Drive, North Terrace Park, Kansas City Missouri.”
    So reads the description on this divided back, hand-colored postcard, published around 1910.


    KCK mayor creates fine architecture

    December 9th, 2015
    by

    Northeast News The cornerstone for the Masonic Temple at 803 N. Seventh St. in Kansas City, Kan., was laid Nov.


    Armour mansion an 1800s wonder

    December 2nd, 2015
    by

    Northeast News When Kirkland B. Armour began construction of his palatial mansion on the boulevard that bears the name of his uncle, Simeon B.


  • Local Weather

  • What’s Happening

    Northeast residents get a glimpse of future with possible designs of The Paseo Gateway

    Northeast News Feb. 4, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Kansas City’s Parks and Recreation department hosted an open house last […]

    City to Speedy Cash – you’re done

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Feb. 3, 2016 KANSAS CITY, Missouri — The wrecking ball has been spared once at the […]

    Inn at 425 offers many opportunities to explore NE

    Northeast News KANSAS CITY, Missouri — When your bed and breakfast gets lumped into groups with Kansas City's best hotels, you know you're probably doing something right.