View Full Version : Kansas City Flood of 1951

General Joy
09-10-2010, 06:48 PM
This event takes place in my novel, so I've done some internet research, but I would love personal experience info. It's a long shot, but has anyone here lived through it? If not, are there any Kansans who could ask a relative, friend, co-worker, neighbor?

I know the worst days of the flood were July 9-13 but I'd like to know when people were told to evacuate, and where they evacuated to, specifically those living in Lawrence. How long did they stay away from their homes? When could people who worked in Kansas City return to work?


09-10-2010, 07:04 PM
I just called my mother who still lived in KC with her parents in '51. She remembers the flood very well, and said it was terrible. While they did not have to relocate, she said trucks were sent out and would stop at the corner to offer drinking water. She said it was very hot and humid, but despite that, they all emulated the style of Jennifer Jones and her rolled up jeans from a movie that was a hit at the time, and so they all suffered the heat for fashion. There was no air conditioning. She lived on a hill, so their house did not flood, but people down in the lower areas had major flooding. They would sit up on the hill and look down at Brush Creek (which runs through the Plaza shopping district) and watch as the water rose and swelled. Southwest Boulevard is another area that is low and always floods, though she did not mention it.

She did say that she was sent home from her job at Bendix in KC when the parking lot became so flooded they feared their cars would be swept away.

That's all from me ma! Sorry about the sloppy text here, I was typing as she spoke on the phone.

09-13-2010, 07:37 AM
I'll ask my mom if she remembers any stories from her parents... They were living in lower Armourdale at the time which is really close to the river.

There's a TeePee outside of Lawrence that has the water levels marked on it, and I believe it was this flood that the postal service was using boats to get the mail to Lawrence... I'll be driving through Lawrence next weekend, i'll see if the visitor's center has any info.

General Joy
09-14-2010, 03:34 PM
You both are a great help, thank you!