The photo at the left was given
to Jack Martin by Dick
Parrett, who knew Chris Martin and
his sister Bonnie Hope.
cousins were young in 1951 when North Topeka flooded in The
Flood of the Century. But those of us who were
around at that time remember something of the devestation—particularly
by the family of Ben and Bonnie
Bonnie's brother, Chris Martin, and his family. Their
homes were badly damaged in the flood. The photo,
left, is the Hope home on N.Kansas Ave.
At the Hope's home,
Ben had moved all valuables to the second
floor to save them. But the water crested at 18-inches into the upstairs.
Hope's double bed, piled with valued posessions, soaked in the water and the
added weight caused the bed to fall in. Everything atop the bed, including Grandpa
Martin's mandolin, was ruined.
Water did not raise above the first floor at Chris
Martin's home on Quincy, but the main level was badly damaged.
Property owners did not have flood insurance, so the financial
burden of clean up was high.
Families evacuated North Topeka during high water. Bonnie's
family stayed at brother Jack Martin's home in West Topeka temporarily,
then moved into a trailer provided them just north of the Topeka Boulevard
Chris's family also stayed with relatives briefly, then moved
into the secod level of their home as they worked to restore the ground floor.
George Martin of Meriden was also affected
by the flood. He flew to Allen Airport in Southwest Topeka and stayed at Jack's
at night for a short time while working in South Topeka at the Santa Fe office
building. He stayed until water receded enough for authorities to reopen the
bridges between North and South Topeka.
See Kansas Memory video of the Kaw Valley Flood of '51.
Of course, Kansas is also known
for high winds. George Martin lost
his home in the 1960
Meriden Tornado. Jack Martin's home
in South Topeka was destroyed in the 1966
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