Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Watery Wednesday : March 19 1997

Today I begin a series of blog posts about our experiences throughout the 500 Year Flood of 1997. 

I dug out some old photos, I am not sure who took them, our neighbors Harvey and Joyce, my parents and maybe even me.

A bit of history first.

We bought a home in May of 1996 in Lake Shure Estates near Harwood North Dakota.  Lake Shure is smack dab in between the Red River and the Sheyenne River.  It was way too large of a home for us, but it had an out of town but close to town feeling that we both liked.  I was going to school at NDSU studying Horticulture and Far Guy was working for the North Dakota Air National Guard.  Ten minutes and I could be a the College and the same for Far Guy.  We had three Shetland Sheepdogs Moses, Captain, and G’Day Mate.  Our fourth Sheltie Miss Misty had died before we moved. The house was perfect for dogs, it had a fenced area for them with a doggie door in the garage, we added a doggie door that went from the house into the garage.
harwood home
The house was a rambler, with a double garage.  Three bedrooms upstairs, 2 baths, kitchen, dining, formal living room and a family room.  Downstairs was a furnace room, a huge walk in cedar closet, a bedroom, a laundry room, a huge rec/family room and closets from floor to ceiling along one wall.
During the winter of 1996-1997 the area received 119 inches of snow.  We had snowstorms every week. We had Flood Insurance as it was required because we lived in the flood plain.  In February there started to be talk of a flood.  We went to meetings that spelled it out.  We conferred with our next door neighbor Harvey.   Far Guy was certain it was going to flood, I said it might be a slow melt.
back of house at harwood
Harvey and Joyce lived in the yellow house.  The whole development was built on a series of cul de sacs…we were at the farthest point in the cul de sac closest to the lake.  I am standing near the garden shed when I took this photo.  There is a bird feeder in our yard sticking out of the snow. On the right side of the photo you can see that the snow has gone over the dog’s enclosure…

I began emailing a few people…Ardith (she saved the emails for me and gave them to me before she died….she said it is history you might want someday.) I also emailed our daughter Jennifer, my brother Carey, Far Guy’s sister Jan and her husband Ron, Katie at Big Piney High School to relay messages to my other baby brother Jody, our friends Dave and Debbie, Lorri and  Kelly,  Doug and Arlene, Cathie, Laura, Hans and Jeannie.

March 19 1997 I wrote the first email to Ardith.

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Hello.
How is everyone doing?  We think of you often.

We are now at 106 plus inches of snow, flooding is supposed to be record breaking.  Gene bought a pump that will move 8,000 gallon an hour, he is working on getting sand bags, sand, several other pumps in case we lose elec.  I think we should make a snow dike and cover it with white plastic and then sand bag from there.  Snow is the most abundant resource available…we have a lot to melt, they are predicting April 15 as approximate flood time, we will move almost everything out of the basement soon.  I have two exams next week and after that I can concentrate on flood prep.

We had Savannah again last week, she is starting to creep a little, soon she will be moving faster than us.  The kids are still waiting on the ins co to make decisions (their home was destroyed by a fire .)

Jennifer seems happier and will be moving into a new apartment soon.  I guess she plans to stay in Bemidji, her new apt is along with a job for the County checking on three developmentally disabled people morning and night. So I hope it works out for her.
Take care of each other.  CJH
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snow out the patio door Feb 1997
Snow was over the top of our deck that winter.  That is our garden shed that is down near the lake.  The trees were Russian Olives and were about twenty feet from the lake.

One Sunday afternoon we decided that we didn’t want our new lawn mower to be flooded…certainly it would get wet in the garden shed.  So we took a couple of boards and one by one we put them under the wheels of the mower and got it moved across the snow inch by inch…the neighbors Stephen and Mae said we were great entertainment that day as they watched from inside their home.

Take note of the garden shed as it will be important in posts to follow on the next Watery Wednesday.
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12 comments:

  1. Very interesting and incredible photos.

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  2. I remember my sister talking about the flood that year. She lived in Fargo.

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  3. I think that was the year I-380 was closed because of flooding in Iowa....It was 5 minutes from my little farm and was the highway I took to work in Iowa City along with I-80. I didn't get pictures but it was a sight to see people walking around on the closed Interstate! Your house looks like it is high up but I know looks are deceiving!

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  4. Do you have any Estes family? I'm asking because I took a tour with John and Ardith Estes and I haven't heard of many Ardiths.

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    1. No my Ardith lived In Warren Indiana, she was a good friend.

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  5. I moved up here from Mpls in 1999 but my son was up here in Fargo-Moorhead going to Concordia college in 1997. There have been several floods and lots of sandbagging since I moved up here, that's for sure. I have never been flooded out myself, but Leah's mother's place on a hill a little outside of town became an island! Had to use a boat to get in and out. Looking forward to this series. :)

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  6. This one of those stories that needs a little background. I am familiar with Red River flooding and I don't like the possibilities here.

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  7. A cliffhanger! That is a lot of snow. That house here would be called a rancher, not a rambler. (that made me chuckle!)

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  8. Wow! Talk about a lot of snow. Your house certainly was very spacious!!

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  9. Yikes! That is a LOT of snow. I didn't know anything about the flood, and rather than look it up in Google, I'm going to learn all about it from you. :-)

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie