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On the Porch

Flooding has been a common occurrence in Marshall because of where the town is situated.

On Father’s Day, June 16, 1957, 5 to 8 inches, and in some places 10 inches, of rain fell in Marshall. The sudden heavy rains created a flash flood that inundated 88 percent of Marshall.

This flood was different from most of the other floods that took place in Marshall. Instead of being caused by melting snow or ice jams, the heavy rains caused the worst flood in Marshall up to that time.

‘Worst’ Flood Hits Area, was the headline in Monday’s Marshall Daily Messenger. Over the next several weeks, the emergency efforts, National Guard aid, and the cleanup of businesses and homes was reported by the newspaper to document the severity of this disaster. The Marshall community and residents from the surrounding area came to together during this time of crisis in southwestern Minnesota.

On June 18, the situation threatened to get even worse when Dead Coon Lake, 25 miles southwest of Marshall, overflowed its banks. An emergency sandbagging effort cut the flow of water, but sent the overflow spilling into neighboring farm fields, which caused uproar with the farmers. Also, on June 18, a Minneota man, Melvin Benson, drowned when his car sank into a 15-foot-wide cut in a road northwest of Ghent. His body was found in a slough several hundred yards beyond where his car came to a rest in County drainage ditch 63.

In an effort to prevent a disaster like the flood of 1957 from ever happening again, the City of Marshall and Lyon County, together with the United States Army Corp of Engineers, constructed a 2.5-mile diversion channel. The diversion channel was accepted by the City of Marshall on Dec. 6, 1963.

The photograph featured this week from the Lyon County Museum’s collection was taken on Main Street in Marshall. The museum’s second floor exhibit gallery, “Making Lyon County Home” includes information, stories, photographs, and oral histories related to the 1957 flood.

The Lyon County Historical Society (LCHS) is a non-profit, member-supported organization. LCHS operates the Lyon County Museum at 301 W Lyon St in Marshall. The Lyon County Museum is open to visitors. To contact us, visit our website: www.lyoncomuseum.org, call: 507-537-6580, email: director@lyoncomuseum.org, or on our Facebook page.

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