Great Bend, KS Flood, Jun 1921

Eleven times during the last six decades, Barton County has been inundated by waters from her main streams and tributaries.

1921's deluge began with a headline in the Great Bend Tribune on Wednesday, May 31. "Fine Rain Helps Wheat Prospects." Eight days later no one was thinking of wheat. Beginning with a sudden meltings of the mountain snows in Colorado, and propelled by a steady summer drizzle, flood waters began to roll eastward and by June 8, the Arkansas River and its tributaries were raging bank full and lapping into city streets from Dodge City to Hutchison.

In Great Bend, on June 9, the low sandy banks of the Arkansas crumbled beneath the torrent and the south half of the city went underwater. By late afternoon the river was lapping at the fringes of 10th Street. All of the territory east of the city to Walnut Creek was completely submerged to a depth of several feet.

Scores of families in the lowlands south of the city were compelled to scramble for higher ground. South of the Santa Fe tracks the water reached a depth of four to six feet. Several places on Main, Kansas ad Williams were submerged to a depth of three feet or more.

By Saturday, June 11, the waters began to recede, although thousand of acres in the Barton County area were still underwater. The banks of the river were leveled from Great Bend to Dundee, so the waters merely followed the line of least resistance back into the river below the Bend.

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