Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of the Ozarks region and surrounding area.

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Location: Missouri

I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written fifteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Bushwhacker Belles, Wicked Women of Missouri, and Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Harrison Flood

My wife grew up in Harrison, Arkansas, and was in elementary school there at the time of the May 1961 flood. Over the years of our marriage, she has occasionally talked about her memories of the flood and the fact that school was called off for a long time, but I never really had an appreciation of the magnitude of the event until I recently read a brief piece about the disaster on the website of the Shiloh Museum of Ozark History (located in Springdale). A wall of water 12-feet high surged out of its banks from Crooked Creek. Merchants and customers were trapped inside buildings as the water raged through the downtown area of Harrison. Four people died, and many others narrowly escaped. Three hundred and thirty-one buildings were damaged or destroyed, and one hundred cars were reportedly "tossed around like matchsticks." Total property damage from the flood was estimated at 5.4 million dollars.
Now I have a better understanding of why my wife has such vivid recollections of this event from her childhood.

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