Growing up I heard many stories about the year The Mouse Roared, 1969. The river is known as the Souris River in Canada, but the Mouse River in North Dakota. There were a couple of books, pamphlets and documentaries made about it was well as the stories of the people I grew up around. The flood of ’69 left an indelible mark on the city of Minot in April. Not just psychologically, but physically as well. There were still water stains on the classroom doors of my junior high school, Erik Ramstad. Others have written about the event much more eloquently than I can. You can find more photos here and here as well.  These photos shown here were taken by my grandparents.

69 Flood Lake Darling

This looks like it is probably the spillway at Lake Darling, about 20 miles north of Minot.

17 Robinwood

This appears to be water flowing over the low roadway along the dam. This appears to have been raised with new controllable gates under the roadway now.

Darling Dam from Google

The first photo would be on the left of this Google image screenshot and the second photo would be on the right where you can see the new gates for water release.

17 Robinwood

This looks like where the Corps of Engineers was putting up the temporary dike in my grandfather’s back yard in Robinwood Estates, just west of Minot. It didn’t help much as it still flooded.

As you can see from these two photos the river came up quite a bit and flooded the house.

While not a great shot, you can see the flooded part of the city beyond the lumber company and compare it to the Google Street view I screen shot of roughly the same place near the intersection of US Highway 2 and Burdick Expressway West.

City pump station river

This is looking down 4 ST SW by the Minot Public Library. The Police and Fire Departments are just off camera to the right, between the library and where the photographer is standing.


I remember as a kid we put as much of our stuff up on top of the tables and counters, and stayed with my grandparents up on South Hill during the flood of 1976. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos from then.


In June 2011 Minot dealt with another catastrophic flood that displaced about 11,000 residents. My parents live about 3/4 of a mile from the river, and about half way up North Hill, but the predicted crest was right at the elevation their house sat at. So we sandbagged around the house just in case. The city leaders were able to save the northeast section of Minot (where my parents live) and kept Broadway Bridge open, at least for emergency services vehicles. A lot of my friends lost their homes. When you drive through the low lying areas you can still abandoned homes. There is also a lot of new greenspace near the river. KX News offered some amazing 24 hours/day coverage of the flood fight, even as the broadcasters were themselves losing their homes.


As we pulled into town we weren’t sure if we’d make it to my parents home right away. We were among the last of the vehicles allowed over the 3rd ST bridge before they closed it. The National Guard was setting up on the other side getting ready to shut it down. If you saw footage of the water rushing past Firestone Tire Center, that is what is behind these barriers.



The river was just being contained within the old dikes erected after the ’69 and ’76 floods as we drove over the bridge.


Here you can see some of the emergency levee work being done under the bridge as we come down on the north side.


You can see the National Guard troops getting ready to shut the bridge down.


As we passed by B & D Market (AWESOME carmel rolls made fresh every morning) you can see the totally effective sand bagging at one of the local bars. (I’m sorry, there is no sarcasm font. We really need a sarcasm font.)


A lot of the off duty airmen from the Minot Airforce Base (about 12 miles north of town, not far from Lake Darling, but high enough in elevation not to be effected) came out and filled sand bags for hours for people in town.


We were only in town one day. But by then only emergency traffic was being allowed on Broadway, and the 3rd ST bridge was closed, which left one bridge (US Highway 83 Bypass) for everyone to cross to get from one side of town to the other. This really highlighted one of the deficiencies of the Minot business community at the time. There was only one tiny grocery store (B & D Market) and NO medical care on the north side of town. Since then Sunmart (now Family Fare) has opened a large store on the north side, and Saint Alexius has opened a clinic. Unbeknownst to everyone at the time though, the river was pounding the bridge we were all driving on. It later had to have extensive repairs done.

The low areas near the river were already being flooded.


The railroad tracks (near where the 2002 Anhydrous derailment occurred) were just starting to be topped as we went by. The homes in that area were already flooded (though I think a couple were saved by a tremendous sandbagging effort).


The water was a little turbulent as it entered under the Bypass bridge.


Looking out the other window as we drove over the Bypass bridge leaving town.

***note: The anhydrous ammonia spill from the CP Rail derailment January 18, 2002 is the largest anhydrous spill in the world. Ken Moe, mentioned in the Forum article in the previous link, is my God-Father.