Record-breaking floods hit Kansas - HISTORY
Year
1951

Record-breaking floods hit Kansas

On this day in 1951, rivers across eastern Kansas crest well above flood stage, causing the greatest destruction from flooding in the midwestern United States to that time. Five-hundred-thousand people were left homeless and 24 people died in the disaster.

The above-average rainfall began in June and continued through July 13, dumping well over 25 inches on some areas in eastern Kansas. From July 9 to 13, nearly 6 inches of rain fell. The Kansas, Neosho and Verdigris rivers began taking on more water than their normal carrying capacity a couple of days into the storm. As the rain persisted, flooding began all over the region.

The major towns of Manhattan, Topeka and Lawrence were most affected. The July 13 crest exceeded all previous highs by four to nine feet. Two million acres of farmland were lost to the flood. In addition, the flooding caused fires and explosions in refinery oil tanks on the banks of the Kansas River. Some train passengers traveling through the area were stuck on their trains for nearly four days. In all, $760 million in damages were caused by the flood.

Following the great 1951 flood, a series of reservoirs and levees were constructed all over the area. In 1993, these were credited with minimizing the damage from another record flood.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Kennedy nominated for presidency

In Los Angeles, California, Senator John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts is nominated for the presidency by the Democratic Party Convention, defeating Senator Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas. The next day, Johnson was named Kennedy’s running mate by a unanimous vote of the convention.Four ...read more

Largest tank battle in history ends

The Battle of Kursk, involving some 6,000 tanks, two million men, and 5,000 aircraft, ends with the German offensive repulsed by the Soviets at heavy cost.In early July, Germany and the USSR concentrated their forces near the city of Kursk in western Russia, site of a ...read more

Charlotte Corday assassinates Marat

Jean Paul Marat, one of the most outspoken leaders of the French Revolution, is stabbed to death in his bath by Charlotte Corday, a Royalist sympathizer.Originally a doctor, Marat founded the journal L’Ami du Peuple in 1789, and its fiery criticism of those in power was a ...read more

Henry Ford II fires Lee Iacocca

On this day in 1978, Ford Motor Company chairman Henry Ford II fires Lee Iacocca as Ford’s president, ending years of tension between the two men.Born to an immigrant family in Pennsylvania in 1924, Iacocca was hired by Ford as an engineer in 1946 but soon switched to sales, at ...read more

Live Aid concert

On July 13, 1985, at Wembley Stadium in London, Prince Charles and Princess Diana officially open Live Aid, a worldwide rock concert organized to raise money for the relief of famine-stricken Africans. Continued at JFK Stadium in Philadelphia and at other arenas around the world, ...read more

Rockefeller announces new peace proposal

Governor Nelson Rockefeller of New York, a Republican presidential candidate, reveals a four-stage peace plan that, he argues, could end the war in six months if North Vietnam assented to it. The proposal called for a mutual troop pullback and interposition of a neutral ...read more

First World Cup

On July 13, 1930, France defeats Mexico 4-1 and the United States defeats Belgium 3-0 in the first-ever World Cup football matches, played simultaneously in host city Montevideo, Uruguay. The World Cup has since become the world’s most watched sporting event.After football ...read more

Construction begins on Fort Phil Kearny

Colonel Henry Carrington begins construction on Fort Phil Kearny, the most important army outpost guarding the Bozeman Trail.In 1863, a Georgia-born frontiersman named John Bozeman blazed a wagon road that branched off from the Oregon Trail and headed northwest to the gold fields ...read more

Wordsworth visits Tintern Abbey

While on a walking tour, William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy visit a ruined church called Tintern Abbey.The ruins inspired Wordsworth’s poem “Tintern Abbey,” in which Wordsworth articulated some of the fundamental themes of Romantic poetry, including the restorative power ...read more

Ghost opens

On this day in 1990, the romantic-thriller Ghost, starring Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg, opens in theaters across the United States. The film, about a woman who communicates with her murdered husband through a sassy psychic, was a box-office hit and received ...read more

Last woman hanged for murder in Great Britain

Nightclub owner Ruth Ellis is convicted of murdering boyfriend David Blakely on this day in 1955. Ellis was later executed by hanging and became the last woman in Great Britain to be put to death.Ellis was born in Rhyl, Wales, in 1926. She left school as a young teenager, had a ...read more