News Story Merrill, Iowa

LeMars Sentinel
June 10, 1953

By Mrs. Fred Hammond

Merrill (By Telephone)—The flood has been the big item of interest in Merrill.

Heavy rain fell early Sunday morning and continued most of the day, with strong winds.  Our government weather observer, Mrs. L. N. Hauser, reports their gauge showed 4.32 inches.  Smaller gauges showed over 5 inches. And those west of town showed over 6.

Most bridges in the vicinity not on the pavement have been washed out.

Most telephones west of town were out, but electric service was firm in town. Many rural lines were dead for a few minutes and others for almost two days.

The fire siren sounded early Monday morning to get help to vacate the Urban Berner family, and neighbors moved their equipment from the basement to the first floor.

Friends also moved Coach Don Coomes’ furniture upstairs. Many basements were filled. Later sewers backed up filling all the business place basements, except the Jones store and Keiser service store.

Hauff Grocery was the biggest loser. In preparation for rebuilding their warehouse, they had stored their winter goods, soap and detergents in their basement.  When they were pumping water from their basement, much foaming suds floated down the gutter.

Both city fire truck pumps were used, yet could not keep the water out of the American Legion Club basement. 

Many big trucks were stalled in Merrill.  One semi-trailer full of cattle was stalled north of the first bridge on Hwy 75 for about 36 hours.  They were pulled out about noon Tuesday. The cattle had not been fed or watered since Sunday.

Cattle standing in deep water east of town were the object of much pity and were rescued by the aid of boats about noon Monday.  Some cattle were stranded on a bridge south of town.

Almost all farmers along the Floyd River lost from two to many head of cattle.  Ronald Schindel and Donald Reilly were among the biggest losers.

The water was the highest it has ever been, and rose the fastest in Merrill’s history.  The post east of town showed over 18 ½ feet above flood stage.

A small twister hit the south part of the Cliff Jensen buildings north of Adaville, blowing down their cow barn and uprooting large trees.  It also did much damage on the Will Heisel farm west of LeMars.

Miles of railroad track were turned on edge so they resembled huge picket fences.

Mr. and Mrs. Fred Jensen, aunt and uncle of Mrs. Lynn Dudley of Merrill, were among those drowned in Leeds.

Regular Merrill news couldn’t be brought to LeMars for this issue, so will appear next week.