Nebraska Historical Marker: The Republican River Flood of 1935
Rural U.S. 136, Oxford, Furnas County, Nebraska
View this marker's location 40.258184, -99.67179
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On May 30, 1935, torrential rains fell in eastern Colorado and southwestern Nebraska; by early morning of the 31st, the usually peaceful Republican River was running bluff-to-bluff along its upper reaches. When the waters subsided two days later, over 100 lives had been lost and many millions of dollars of damage had been done. A number of persons from this community were drowned. After the prolonged drouth of the early 30's, the wet spring of 1935 had brought welcome relief to the region. By the end of May, however, the soil was nearing the saturation point. The rains of May 30th, concentrated in the basin of the South Fork and extending into the valleys of the Arikaree, Frenchman, Red Willow, and Medicine, poured into the main stream--normally 300 to 400 feet wide, turning it into a raging torrent one to four miles wide. The flood water came as a wall, variously estimated at from three to eight feet in height. The advance of the crest was more rapid in the upper valley, reported at ten miles an hour above Trenton, at five between there and Oxford, and slowing to 2 1/2 miles an hour upon crossing over into Kansas. To prevent the repetition of such a tragedy the federal government has built a series of six dams, five in Nebraska, across the Republican or its tributaries, serving not only as flood protection, but providing recreation and irrigation facilities as well.
Stacey Stubbs, “‘Gentle River Goes Mad:’ The Republican River Flood of 1935 and its New Deal Legacy,” Nebraska History 97 (2016): 2-15
See Nebraska Historical Marker Program for more information.