12 Replies to “1972 Flood Exhibit”

  1. The flood was one of my experiences that proved the power of radio in a community. This was my second year at KLTF and or studios were at 70 NE 1st Ave, but our transmitter building and tower were just north of where the flood waters had to be re-routed into the Mississippi. We were fine downtown, but the transmitter building was threatened by the possibility of high water along 371. Sandbags were placed around the building and managed to keep the water out. I have no idea who piled the sandbags. But we were so grateful. KLTF was the only source of communication in the area during the flood and we were able to relay info to our listeners and pass along messages. Remember, cell phones didn’t exist yet. Gordy Lommen and I were on the air and we were a daytime station, which meant we had to be off the air at sunset. But we needed to stay on the air all night to relay all of this important information to the people affected by the flood. The staff attempted to contact someone at the FCC, but no one was available. Finally someone was reached and we received permission to stay on the air overnight. I remember Gordy going up in a small airplane to survey the damage near county road 48 north of Little Falls and then reporting back what he was seeing. I also remember that our secretary, Terri Marsolek’s husband falling in the water where 371 was cut open, but if I remember, he had a rope attached to him. One of the staff members may have pictures of the transmitter sandbagged, I have pictures taken on sixth street northeast near Crestliner a day after the flood. There was still water on part of the street.

    1. Hi, Gary – Thanks so much for sharing your memories of the flood, particularly about KLTF. It’s all those details that tend to get lost over time. You’re right to point out that there were no cell phones. It’d be too easy to assume that’s how people communicated for those who’ve grown up with cell phones.

      – Mary Warner
      Museum Manager

  2. My husband, Dave, filled me in on this inf, Fanat Schwanke who resided at Lake Alex.became ill and was suffering a heart attack. His son drove him down county Rd. 1 which is now Dove in an attempt to get him to the hospital. They could not cross the Little Elk River so they came back to the Adamek farm and asked Neil if he could drive him across on a tractor. They tried that, but the water was too deep and swift for even a tractor. They came back to the farm and called for help. A helicopter came and landed in the field just east of the house to airlift Mr. Schwanke to a hospital.

  3. I was working at Fleet Supply that day and I do remember that it poured like crazy. Customers were coming in to buy tools and supplies to do what they could to protect their property from the flooding. After work, instaed of going home, I took a drive north to Randall. The creek on the soouth side of Randall was flooded with many homes submerged half way in about 10 feet of water. The bridge on Ginger road was compltely gone as well with a big washout

  4. I was a young teen when the flood took place. I remember hearing of 12 inches of rain in 12 hours. We lived just a mile north of the Belle Prairie Church and our house was along Hwy 371. The morning after the heavy rain I remember waking to the flood waters in front of the house along the highway. As the water approached the house, the striped gopher holes in the yard filled with water and the ones on higher ground formed little geysers all over the lawn! Later that day my younger brother Brian got out the canoe and started paddling up and down the road ditch. We did get some water in the basement but the surface water stopped about twenty feet from the front of the house so it stayed dry up stairs. I remember getting on my horse and riding to the Riverwood neighborhood to check on my friends. Plenty of water all around and I remember the Al Bouman home basement being flooded and the foundation wall caving in a bit. Later we drove to see the wash out up near county road 48. Was there in time to see a house fall into the ravine and be washed away. I also remember our old neighbor Raleigh Meyers telling the authorities about a natural drainage ditch between Hwy 371 and the Mississippi River just behind our house to the west. He had lived there all his life and if they had listened to him, could have averted some of the water from going along the hwy into town. Lots of memories. Thanks for the photos above!

    1. Thanks for your story of the flood, Christian. We appreciate all the details. It was definitely a dramatic event. We’ll add your story to our flood file. Thanks again!

      Mary Warner
      Executive Director

  5. We were heading back to St.louis from Nevis Mn and were told by the highway patrol that the road was closed due to flooding and mudslides and we were to go 80 miles detour to get around it. We were teenagers and asked if we could drive to the flooded area to see it. We drove through small amounts of water and some mudslides from the train tracks which were higher up. We thought wow no big deal lol then we approached the huge flooded section with waters streaming across the road. Believe it or not we made the decision to try. Three guys pushed from the rear bumper as I drove through. Water made it to edge of front windshield. Our 8 track tapes floated in the car. Water was up my calf inside. Somehow we made it and lucky not to be swept across the road and into the flooded town below the road. We all got back into the car and drove to the next road block on the south side into town. The highway patrol was there and asked where we came from and we said Motley and that it wasn’t that bad lol. That is a true story

    1. My heavens, Roy! You and your friends certainly were lucky to have made it through without injury. I love the image of 8 track tapes floating in the car.

      Thanks for sharing your 1972 flood story.

      Mary Warner
      Executive Director

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