VALIER NOTES FROM 2004
A RECURRING FEATURE CALLED “TURNING BACK THE PAGES”. I think this is from the Valierian.
20 YEARS EARLIER
Pictured was Lake Francis, showing that due to extreme dry conditions, the lake has disappeared and you could drive across the lake bed to the island.
Valier’s Chief of Police, Horace Pete, graduated from an eight-week course at the Police Academy in Bozeman.
40 YEARS EARLIER
Two Medicine and Swift Dam collapsed, sending a twenty-foot wall of water surging down Birch Creek and Badger Creek. Bruce Milne, Superintendent of Schools, organized a search team in an effort to locate survivors or pick up bodies that might have been washed ashore. Red Cross officials arrived and a mobile communications system was set up in the high school gym. Women of Valier and the surrounding area responded to the call for help in feeding and clothing the 104 refugees who were being brought to the gym by helicopter. These people had spent the night at the Grandview School.
Some of the tragic losses were: Ernie Lauffer, Mrs.Tom Hall and five children; the eight year old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wallace Bradley (Mrs. Bradley was missing for a time but managed to cling to a log until rescued); the four year old son of Mr. and Mrs Chet Thomas, Jr.; an eighteen year old Arneaux girl (niece of Mrs. Wally Hall); Mr. and Mrs. Newbreast and baby of Birch Creek (ten of the children are safe); Mr. Gil England; Mrs. Mary Hall (mother of Tom Hall); Happy Williams; and many others whose names were not available at the time.
The new home of Mr. and Mrs. Ernie King was swept away by the flood but the family managed to save some of their furnishings. Mr. and Mrs. Ray Davis also lost their home all belongings.
Sarah Walley, son Jerry, daughter Sharon, and her four boys had a narrow escape from onrushing waters as they tried to salvage furnishings from Jerry’s house. They got out just ahead of the water. They had managed to save 200 chickens by moving them to higher ground earlier in the day.
The Town of Valier suffered no great damage from the flood, though we were practically inundated for a time. For example, water backed up over the sidewalks and began running into the new bank. Several pounds of flour were piled along the front of the bank in an effort to halt the flow of water.
Mary Jane Stark and several Methodist Youth members were reported safe at MYF Camp on Flathead Lake. Although they didn’t know when they would be able to return home.
Ora Lohse did a tremendous job with rescue operations. He spent a lot of hours in the air, and was willing to go wherever needed. We owe him a debt of gratitude.
Dr. Cannon and nurses from Valier and surrounding towns went to Dupuyer to administer typhoid shots to people of that area.
Mr. and Mrs. Merrill Kuka had a harrowing experience when they noticed the floodwaters heading for their home. As they started to drive away, a live power line hit and shattered the windshield and killed the motor and the heat from the live wire soldered the car door shut. Fortunately, the motor started again and they were able to flee to safety.
70 YEARS EARLIER
Valier is making elaborate plans to entertain a large crowd of visitors on the Fourth of July. Mr. Fuller, manager of the Airport Inn, announces that he will have a special program for the day that will include a brilliant showing of fireworks, swimming, dancing, floor show, water sports, a baseball game, boating, motor boat races, row boat races, speed boat trips, airplane rides and fishing.
High water in Birch Creek and Dupuyer Creek caused by the heavy rains of last week did considerable damage. A total of 4.58 inches of precipitation was recorded which constitutes a new record for June rainfall. The bridge at Heart Butte and three bridges at the Hamilton Ranch were lost. HA Gooken lost 130 sheep and Frank Hughes lost 50 sheep to the high water. Daniel Slezak suffered the heaviest loss when the waters in the creek left the bank and washed away 40 tons of coal valued at $300.
Dr. Powell drove to the Emil Verstraete place northest of Valier and operated on four year old Mary Verstaete for a ruptured appendix.