July 18, 2019

A life no more

Elders recall losing Missouri River
Editor’s note: Exactly one year ago marked the beginning of the Elder’s Series in the McLean County Independent. The final chapter of this six-part history was intentionally left to be written exactly one year later — to represent the limbo, and anxiety, created on behalf of the federal government, U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers, Lewis Pick and William Sloan, between the years of 1944 and 1953 for the three tribes and the homesteaders alike; both of whom had made their homes, and livelihoods, in the Missouri River’s bottomlands before having it abruptly taken away.
With the closure of the Garrison Dam in 1953, the homes, farms, schools, churches and businesses located behind it were soon to be no more. The U.S. constructed a dam over two miles in length — the fifth largest dam of its kind in the world.
Sanish, Elbowoods and Van Hook were the three largest cities swiped away by the rising water behind the dam. They were still vibrant cities in 1952; however, by the end of 1953, hardly anything was left of the once bustling North Dakota communities.
Many people today may not understand the toll the dam took on families who had lived in what is referred to as the “taking” area.

The Weather Network