Great Bend, KS Flood, Apr-May 1942

The year 1942 marked the next major inundation in Barton County. For five days, beginning April 29, the surging waters of the Arkansas vied for front page attention with the Japanese Imperial Army’s advances in Burma and the Philippines and the victory promises of one Schicklegruber of Germany.

In Great bend, the area south of 12th once more bore the brunt of the damage. Pouring into the city from the southwest, the river water had, by 3 a.m., Friday, May 1, completely submerged an area bounded by 10th street on the north, Jefferson on the east and Washington street on the west. At 10 a.m., the current was lapping at the doors of the Schuetz Hardware, 1213 Main.

At the Hi-Power filling station, 10th and Madison, attendants reported that the waters had risen 2 inches in as many hours. Sandbagging crews went to work along Main, and by noon, Great Bend’s main stem resembled a besieged artillery emplacement. At 10th and Baker, during the height of the flood, water was standing hip deep, and at 11th and main, motorboats scooted back and forth rescuing stranded families.

Before the waters had receded, over 100 blocks in the city had gone underwater. And too, so bad a million dollars in damages.

Great Bend Daily Tribune, Great Bend, KS 7 May 1961