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Oklahoma City, OK Flood, May 1923

1,000 Homeless With Oklahoma City In Grip Of Its Worst Flood

Lowlands Covered Miles By Waters

Source Of City’s Meat Supply Is Completely Isolated.

Damage Is Now Heavy

Unless Waters Recede May be Necessary to Use Boats to Supply Citizens With Meat.

By The Associated Press.
Oklahoma City, Ok., May 28.-Oklahoma City was in the grip of one of the worst floods in its history Monday night.

Water covered miles of lowlands along the tortuous course of the stream through the southern section of the city.

Packingtown, source of the city’s meat supply, was completely isolated.

More than 1,000 persons were homeless. These were being cared for by city officials and relief organizations. The City Auditorium was converted into a barracks for the flood refugees. Seven hundred cots and blankets were placed in the auditorium by order of Adjt. Gen. B. F. Markham, who ordered out a small detachment of National Guardsmen.

Property damage, it is believed, will run into hundreds of thousands of dollars.

River Still Rising.

A slight rise in the river was recorded Monday night. Heavy rains fell throughout the North Canadian Valley today and Federal Weather Bureau officials predicted the stream would go higher.

A rise of two feet was reported coming down the river from the northwest. The crest is expected to reach here tomorrow morning.

Unless the flood waters fall rapidly within the next forty-eight hours, it was said it would be necessary to use boats to bring provisions to the city from Packingtown, where the stockyards and packing houses are located.

Early in the day the swollen river broke over the South Robinson Street levee and tonight the flood waters covered that thoroughfare for more than a mile from Poplar Street north almost to Wheeler.

Lowlands are Inundated.

From that point, the farthest southern point that marks the river’s course through the city, the flood waters had completely inundated the lowlands to the northeast, flowing over bridges or washing them away, rising high above the window ledges of many homes and forcing every resident of the Walnut Grove section to flee.

Chairs, tables and other household furnishings were swept through the streets of Walnut Grove in a swirling, muddy current. Several houses and stores were overturned as the rush of water washed away foundations.

To the west the waters had broken over the levee guarding Wheeler Park. Every foot of that big playground was covered with a swirling flood.

Zoo Animals in Cages.

Many of the zoo animals had to be left in the cages. It is believed that several have been drowned.

Western League baseball park was a muddy lake. The water had risen through the lower sections of the grand stands.

Exchange Avenue, the traffic artery to Packingtown, was under water for more than a mile.

The Capitol Hill section to the south was virtually cut off from the rest of the city. Early tonight the gas feed line that furnishes fuel to Capitol Hill broke at the South Robinson Street Bridge.

A heavy rain, reaching almost the proportions of a cloudburst, descended on the city during the day. A fall of 1.67 inches was recorded within an hour.

A forty-right hour embargo on all live stock shipments was announced during the day by the stock yards officials.

Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX 29 May 1923

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