Quantcast

The great floods of 1983 and 1952

Published: Wednesday, July 29 2015 4:24 p.m. MDT

Brent Madsen home in Bountiful Utah, June 3, 1983.  (Dave Conley, Deseret News Archives) Brent Madsen home in Bountiful Utah, June 3, 1983. (Dave Conley, Deseret News Archives)

We have all heard of the Utah flood of 1983. Many experienced it. But how many remember the flood of 1952?

You can see a number of images from both floods and the extensive damages that these two floods caused here in Utah in the photo gallery accompanying this story.

The spring of 2011 looks like it may surpass these two earlier floods. But, hopefully, over the past 58 years additional flood controls have been established to mitigate the damages.

We all may remember the photos of young people trying to fish on State Street. We also may remember the bridge built over that wide street — but there was much more damage in other parts of the Utah. Bountiful, Provo and most of northern Utah, for example, had extensive damage.

In December of 1952 the staff of the Deseret News and Telegram voted the spring flood the number one story of the year, followed by the election of Eisenhower as president and the appointment of then LDS Church apostle Ezra Taft Benson as Secretary of Agriculture.

Young boys enjoy a casual ride in a raft on State Street near 1000 South on May 1, 1952. Major flooding created moments of fun for some. (Deseret News Archives) Young boys enjoy a casual ride in a raft on State Street near 1000 South on May 1, 1952. Major flooding created moments of fun for some. (Deseret News Archives)

In the first week of May in 1952 more than 45 families were displaced from their homes in the Temple View Stake on about the 200 block of Aspen Ave. People in this area were rescued from their homes by rubber rafts. Temporary housing was provided.

In 1952 flooding spread from 900 South and West Temple to 21 South and 800 West, this was a 50-block area. In both 1952 and 1983 thousands of acres of farmland were placed under water and millions of dollars in damage to property occurred.

The Red Cross as well as all the churches in the valley played major roles in providing relief. Several Counties were declared national disaster areas and federal assistance was requested.

As a result of the 1983 flood the pumps were built on the west side of the great Salt Lake to assist in future flooding. This year, however, because the lake levels are down, the pumps will most likely not be needed.

State Official Cap Ferry and Davis County Commissioner Harold Tippetts examine damage at a Davis County Farm, May 14, 1986. (Bruce Hills, Deseret News Archives) State Official Cap Ferry and Davis County Commissioner Harold Tippetts examine damage at a Davis County Farm, May 14, 1986. (Bruce Hills, Deseret News Archives)

We cannot ignore the past. The photos attached in this article prove that few places are safe when nature opens her floodgates. It is hard to forget how a peaceful city street might have a new river running down it — a 30-foot-wide river running with thousands of gallons of water and mud.

We invite you to submit to us at UtahHistoryPhotos@gmail.com scans of old photos of past floods. We are glad to help you learn a little more about the importance or value of your old photograph. We also encourage individuals to make donations to Colleges and Universities, Church libraries, and County and State Historical Societies.

Email: UtahHistoryPhotos@gmail.com

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company