Monday, January 21, 2019

Taming Old Man River

Several years ago, I read an excellent book on the epic flooding of the Mississippi River system in the first half of the 20th century: Rising Tide by John M. Barry.  This book looks into multiple facets of addressing the problem of flooding, including hydrologic, engineering, sociological, and political issues that swirled around each time another flood devastated the land.  The 1927 flood was incredible in its scope and destruction, of course, and many other books have been written about it.  At the suggest of a friend, I just finished “Deep’n as it Come” by Pete Daniel.  Daniel looks carefully at the 1927 flood from a personal level, as well as from the perspective of the relief effort, and political response.  There are many eyewitness accounts, as well as an excellent selection of photographs that serve to give some framework to the extent of the damage the flooding caused.  Especially if you live in or near the lower Mississippi River valley, both of these books will help you to understand just how important today’s flood control structures are to the life we lead in this area. Both books are available on Amazon or virtually any of your favorite booksellers.  Highly recommended.  

This photo is of Marked Tree, Arkansas (my home town) from the 1927 flood, looking down Frisco Street towards town. The RR tracks are on your right. The white house in the foreground is the "Brigance" house, and the garage further back is Burton's. In  1927, Frisco street was still considered part of the Ozark Trail.  From my Grandmother Nola Fleming's collection.