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Background Image A house floats along in the 1951 flood near Eudora.

A Deluge of Things to Do

"...others, fortunate enough to have suffered no direct flood loss, are considering means by which they may continue the exercise of neighborly helpfulness, so notably in evidence in the dangerous crisis of the flood"

In mid-July 1951, Hazel Harris needed to visit her husband Jerry in the hospital in nearby Lawrence, just west of their home in Eudora. Any other time the drive would have been a piece of cake. On this particular day, however, she cruised the nine miles down Kansas Highway 10 in a boat because several feet of water covered the road.

Elsewhere in Eudora, Bob and Lois needed to get their 200 chickens to safety. Brothers Clarence, Floyd, and Oscar Broers came to help the family pack as the waters rose. With no time to properly bag the chickens, they put them in the back of a truck. As the brothers pulled away, one chicekn fell out, but luckily Clarence managed to save it. After that the chickens sat perfectly still on the truck's stock racks, even after the poultry-rescue vehicle reached dry land. With the help of the Broers every chicken survived.

The Monday July 16, 1951, editorial in the Lawrence Journal-World, published at the end of a chaotic weekend full of mud and water, proclaimed,

Amid all the uncertainties, one thing is certain: people are impatient to get at the task...from the moment the river began to fall, those persons hardest hit by the overflow began making plans to return to their flood-battered properties...others, fortunate enough to have suffered no direct flood loss, are considering means by which they may continue the exercise of neighborly helpfulness, so notably in evidence in the dangerous crisis of the flood.

Ben Terwilliger, executive director of the Eudora Area Historical Society, says the flood "submerged the entire northern portion of the Eudora Township, as well as significant parts of the city limits in Eudora."

Special thanks to Patty Neis Johnson for sharing her story.

Image courtesy of the Eudora Area Historical Society

 

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