Missouri River not kind to Kansas City

Posted June 25, 2013 at 11:00 pm

By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
Northeast News
June 26, 2013

PC-flood-1908

From a statistical standpoint, the 1908 flood in Kansas City was not as disastrous as the 1903 or 1951 floods. In June of 1908 the heavens opened up and the Kansas and Missouri rivers swelled from their banks, displacing thousands of residents and wreaking havoc to the stock yards and meat packing industries located in the Central Industrial District (West Bottoms).

The scene pictured above shows the confluence of the Missouri and the Kaw (Kansas) from the east end of the newly-constructed Inter-City Viaduct. According to statistics gathered at the U.S. Geological Survey Stream-flow Gaging Station in Topeka, the Kansas River flowed at a rate of 300,000 cubic feet per second during the flood of 1903. By comparison, the 1908 flow was a tad less than 200,000 cubic feet per second, putting it on par with 1993 flood numbers. The 1951 flood stats are almost double that of 1903, with a whopping 455,000 cubic feet per second in displacement on the Kaw.

This card was written July 3, 1908, and was sent from Manitou, Colo., to Miss Lulu Comer of Yates City, Ill. The message reads: “This picture is the way the Missouri river looked when I was in K.C. Say but I feel good out here, it is so nice and clear and cool. Not many in town yet, a little too early yet. Giles.”