Archive for Monday, July 2, 2001

Newspaper from July 13, 1951

July 2, 2001


Floods To All-Time High

Latest Kaw River Stage at Lawrence Measures 30.4 Feet; Great Swirling
Currents Drive All Occupants from North Lawrence

Newspaper courtesy of Nettie Burke, Linwood

Newspaper courtesy of Nettie Burke, Linwood


Bridge into Stricken Area Closed to All Traffic Early Today; Skilled Army Men Bring Marooned Victims from Woodlawn School to Safety

Forecast and river stage estimated assembled by the Associated Press
indicated that the great flood in the Kaw might crest at the
unprecedented stage of 31.7 feet at Lawrence at 6 o'clock tomorrow
morning. Forecast was a further rise of 1.3 feet from the stage of 30.4
feet which was maintained for several hours today.

The arrival of army engineer personnel with 22-foot boats powereby be
heavy outboard motors greatly facilitated the rescue work in North
Lawrence. Rescue crews operating from both sides of the swirling tide in
North Lawrence since mid-morning had removed more than 40 marooned
persons from the stricken area.

City Commissioner John Crown said this afternoon that the Kaw River
is blocked off to traffic "Not because the bridge is weakened, but
because there is no place for people to go when they cross the bridge,
and because conditions at the north end of the bridge are just too
dangerous for anyone to be over there."

The bridge was ordered closed about 6 this morning, the Kaw had been
rising steadily. At 6 o'clock last night the reading was 28.6 feet. At
12 o'clock midnight, it had soared to 29.7 and at 6 a.m. this morning,
the river stage was a even 30 feet.

The river stage readings are now being computed at Cameron's Bluff,
located about three miles up the river. The stage is being verified from
a staff placed near the Santa Fe passenger depot.

As of 3 o'clock this afternoon there was no official record of anybody
reported missing, dead or injured as a result of the flood of evacuation

Lake From The Air

(Unreadable on Journal-World copy)

"I saw small buildings floating and I saw roofs where the water was just
rippling over the top of them and that was all that was visible of
them," Richardson declared. "Boats are traveling from Ray's cafo the
airport picking up people in the farms along the way. One boat was
traveling down old highway 40."

Richardson said he saw several people on roof tops, but they were where
boats could get to them, and did not seem to be in distress. Some of
Jackman's turkeys at the farm north of the river were sitting in tree
tops a half mile from where the roosts are.

He saw one of the Nehrbass boys sitting on a cattle shed roof on North
Seventh street. They boy had his shoes off and seemed to be taking life

Rescue operations by motor boat in North Lawrence yesterday afternoon
and last night and truck evacuations before that have accounted for
nearly 250 families, the Chamber of Commerce reports. The only lights in
the inundated area were provided by a theater searchlight located near
the north end of the bridge and spot lights placed on the motor boats.

No Way of Knowing

The C. of C. officials have no way of knowing how many people evacuated
before the flood and no way of determining how many have been rescued
from the north.

When water began rolling into the Lawrence Municipal Airport yesterday
afternoon, several local pilots including Professor Norman Hoecker and
Cloyce Burns went by boat to the airport and were able to fly two Piper
Vagabond planes from the water-logged runways and landed on Highway 10
east of Lawrence.

Delbert Richardson, Lawrence insurance salesman has just moved his plane
from the airport to a newly-finished airport on his farm near highway 10
last week.

The three planes were landing and taking off from Richardson's 700-foot
runway and from the highway today making trips over North Lawrence.

An Air Shuttle

An air shuttle was set up between the highway landing spot and a similar
highway strip south of the Reno on the north banks of the three-mile
wide river. An evacuation headquarters was set up this noon north of
Ray's truck stop at the edge of the river water.

Early this afternoon, Richardson flew Gene Shackleford and Jack Ziegler,
radio operators, and their short wave radio equipment to the
headquarters where they began transmitting in a tie-up with other
stations in the county-wide emergency radio network.

Pilots flying the three planes included Richardson, Hoecker, Burns,
Russell Bartley, and H.A. Richardson Jr.

Henry Weltmer, editor of the Perry Mirror, called the Journal-World this
afternoon from McLouth to tell the story of Perry.

At 10 o'clock this morning the water in downtown Perry was six and
one-helf feet deep and still rising slowly. The current from the
Delaware river which was inundated the entire city is "terrific thru the
entire business section."

Wetmer says that the water is two feet deeper and the current is much
stronger than it was during the flood two weeks ago.

Only four or five houses in Perry are above water and only about four
families are still in Perry. The most of the people were evacuated to
Oskaloosa last night or to neighboring farm houses in the hills north of

"The water extends a mile and one-half east of Perry to I don't know how
far west, maybe a mile, maybe two," Weltmer said. "It is a solid sheet
of water south to the Kaw."

So far the Delaware is not being held by the Kaw, but of course it is
only a matter of time, Weltmer believes, until the Kaw will start
backing up the Kaw and will hold the Delaware water at a high level in

Two government engineer boats, manned by crews from Nebraska City, Neb.,
had evacuated 29 people from North Lawrence to south Lawrence between
10:20 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.

The 22-foot boats with 22-horsepower motors, chugged thru the main
current of the river with anywhere from three to five passengers, who
said they were vastly relieved to be on the south side of the river and

A Hectic Ride

Most passengers brought to the north end of the river bridge said they
were badly frightened when the boats reached the main channel. They were
high in their praise for the expert piloting of the government

Land Near Station

As the passengers were landed near the Santa Fe tracks on East Eighth
street, they were loaded aboard army trucks and taken to Eighth and New
York. Trucks had to travel thru high waters from the tracks to the
intersection. There they were put aboard smaller pick-up trucks and
taken to the Community building.

People who were evacuated by United States government engineers from
North Lawrence between 10:20 a.m. when the first boat load came across
just east of Poehler's mercantile:
C.M. Adams, 736 North Fifth; Mrs. O.L. Adams, 635 Elm; C.E. King, 519
Walnut; Laura Logan, 223 North Sixth; Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Moore, 231
North Fifth and their three children, Richard, Gary Dean and Patricia;
Mrs. Lucille Patterson, 223 North Sixth; Pauline Taylor, 328 Locust;
Marilyn Ann Taylor, 328 Locust; Clarence Wales, 612 Elm; Sylvia Witt,
763 North Fifth; Mr. and Mrs. C.E. Stanwix, 726 Walnut; Mrs. Cora
Thompson, 733 Walnut, and her two daughters, Jessie Lee Barnes and Elen
Barnes; O.L. Adams, 635 Elm, and Paul Tubbs, 625 Walnut; Ruth Hixon, 742
Walnut; Frederick Inyard, 615 North Third; Isabelle Rogers, 615 North
Third; and Mr. and Mrs. Glen Anderson, 226 North Fourth.

Those known to be evacuated via Miller's corner by Journal-World press
time are:
Mr. and Mrs. Frank Walters and son, Howard Pine and two children, W.D.
Dillon, Raymond Pine, Walter Pine, Charles Pine and Marl Nebrbass.

Thruout the day, planes from the U.S. naval Air Station at Olathe, flew
up and down the river between Kansas City and Topeka, on the lookout for
distress signals.

The actual "Operation Evacuation" started earlier this morning, when
Carl Hess, Route 2, took a small boat powered by a 7 * horsepower motor
across the bridge and launched it at Second and Elm. He crossed the
swift current there and went to the Bill Bryan home, at 214 North Sixth.
>From there he contacted Ship Winter, chairman of the disaster committee.

Winter assigned Hess the task of rounding up evacuees and taking them to
the Woodlawn school.

Soon afterwards City Engineer J.C. Harper crossed the main channel of
the river in one of the large government boats and set the wheels in
motion for evacuating the people from Woodlawn across the main channel
to the Eighth street landing.

The exact number of people brought out of North Lawrence last night is
not known. However, there were 94 persons who were known to have been
taken out between 5 p.m. and 12:30 p.m.

Evacuation was stopped at 3:20 a.m. and was not resumed until Hess made
his risky trip to North Lawrence in his small boat.

Taken Out North

Stranded persons were also being taken out to the northeast.

Ten persons were reported to have been evacuated from their homes to
Miller's corner. Most of them were taken to Tonganoxie. Evacuation
operations on the north side were being carried out by U.S. army
engineers. Col. Lynn R. Moore of the Air R.O.T.C. of K.U. supervised the

The army engineers attempted to begin their operations around 9 o'clock
this morning, but their boat caught afire when they started it, and they
had to take it to Tonganoxie for repairs.

As soon as repairs were completed, they began their operations.

The first six evacuees were taken out from the north at approximately
12:30 o'clock this afternoon.

The switchboard in Perry has been closed and communications with the
city are by boat only. The city is reported to be without gas, lights
and drinking water.

At Lecompton the Kaw river reading at noon was 29 feet and was still
rising slowly. The water is reported by spokesmen at Fleming store is
two feet higher than it was in 1903.

Readings by Boat

The Santa Fe station on the south side of the river and under the bluffs
now is standing water up to the window sashes and the river observer,
George Holly, has to go by boat to read the gauge fastened on the side
of the station.

At Lakeview Albert Brune reports that he, his brother and sister left
their home north of Lakeview by boat last night. At the time the water
was 18 inches deep in the first floor of their home. Brune said that he
was at Lakeview yesterday and that they main floor of the Lakeview club
house is covered and that all of the cottages are inundated.

He said that several of the boats which were moored to trees along the
bluffs were now floating nearly as high as their ropes would allow them.

"The whole country is under water out there now," Brune declared. "In
1903 some of the high spots escaped, but this time nothing is about
water. The new Santa Fe railroad trestle has a tremendous current going
thru it, and the washout is growing larger. They will have another big
gap to bridge. Current is moving thru the entire area."

East of City

East of Lawrence near the Corel and Saunders farms the water is
described as "one-story" deep. The water is across the Santa Fe tracks
in that area, according to observers.

At Eudora where electricity was cut off yesterday by the raging Kaw, a
temporary line was connected by the Lawrence Kansas Power and Light
company to Eudora from the feeder line south of Eudora to Sunflower
Ordnance plant.

Mayor Allen Westerhouse of Eudora told the Journal-World that the
temporary line would provide electricity for the homes, but no street
lights and no power for the water plant pumps.

"At noon we had one foot of water in our 60,000-gallon tank and after
that is gone we're without water," he declared. "I sent a delegation
headed by Don Joslin to Lawrence by way of Baldwin and Topeka this
morning at 7:30. They were to go to the University of Kansas and try to
secure the K.U. portable two-phase dynamo so we can have water for the
water plant. I have not heard from them."

Switch Over Power

The Bowersock mill, which supplies electric power from the dam to
industrial plants in the northeast corner of town from Seventh street to
the river, stopped generating electricity last night about 7:30 o'clock.
A switch to Kansas Light and Power company current was made this

Among the places affected last night was the Jayhawker theater which had
just stared its evening show when the power went off. Francis Edwards,
assistant manager, said the patrons were given tickets to be used any
time they choose to come back. Today's matinee and evening shows will go
on as usual.

At the Lawrence Paper company, John Crown said all operations are shut
down. The basement, which is half above ground level, is full of water
and employees are sandbagging the ground floor in an attempt to keep
water away from equipment and supplies. The power failure last night,
halted efforts to move supplies to the second floor.

The East Lawrence industrial section was, for the most part, closed up
this morning, altho some businesses were not actually under water.

Poehler's Mercantile company, 701 East Eighth, tho surrounded by water,
was not closed. The big warehouse sets on a high foundation, which
facilitates loading of the big freight trucks that haul merchandise from
there. The trucks were hauling supplies up the alley to Ninth street,
then west from there.

The Penny Construction company was out of business today. It is well
under water, and the area surrounding the company property was part of
the "bay" being used by the evacuation boats.

Sol Spector, one of the owners of the Auto Wrecking and Junk Company
Inc., 712 East Ninth, said his yards were in pretty good shape.

"We won't be doing much business tho," said Spector, "because the
streets leading to this place have been barricaded. But we'll work our
boys as long as we can, doing odd jobs around here."

For 10 Days

The only water coming into the building was at the far east end where it
has been coming over the floor. They've been pumping water out of the
basement, however, for the past 10 days.

Spector estimated that water in the area of his place of business had
raised at least six inches from 8 o'clock this morning until 11 o'clock.

Business could still be carried on at the Conoco bulk station across the
street from the Junk Yard. The main building itself was high and dry,
tho water surrounded it on three sides.

Workers of the Kansas Color Press were moving gear out of the Color
Press warehouse down by the Santa Fe tracks. The warehouse was sitting
high and dry this morning, however, and the move apparently was being
made as a precautionary measure.

Freight was being hauled out of the north end of the old Santa Fe
freight depot. The south end of the freight warehouse was out of water.
It sets a good deal higher than the submerged north end.

The Santa Fe passenger depot was surrounded by several inches of water
on all sides.

Warehouse Sandbagged

Barteldes warehouse, 826 Pennsylvania, was in pretty good shape. The
building has been sandbagged, and no water was coming in, except thru
the basement, and pumps were sending the basement water out as fast as
it was coming in. No damage has been done to any of the merchandise yet.

The Lawrence Egg and Poultry company buildings appeared to be dry. Water
was coming up on the street on one side of the building but hadn't
reached the building at 1 o'clock this afternoon.

Operations of the Gas Company were going along smoothly, with all lines
in good shape. One company official reported that operations will
continue under normal conditions unless water should push the lines up
from the ground and break them.

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