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1965 Flood in SavageUnidentified street in downtown Savage, flooded.
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1965 Flood in SavageAnother view of the 1965 Flood showing Continental Grain.
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Photos from the 1965 FloodTwo of the photos which appeared in the Dakota County Tribune with information about the flood.
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Minnesota River Flooding presumed to be 1965 possibly 1969
40_Years_after_Flood_of_1965.pdf
40 Years After flood of 1965Savage Pacer - Nancy Huddleston 2005
April 9, 2005, Savage Pacer

Airlift to season opener
Four Minnesota Twins baseball players living in Burnsville beat the traffic jams by getting an air lift to the 1965 seasons opening game with the New YorkYankees. Rich Rollins, Dick Stigman,Bill Bethea and Jim Kaat were picked up by helicopter at Burnsville High School at 9:30 a.m. and returned after the game . Several classes of elementary age children located in the west wing of the building were thrilled to see the Twins waiting outside their school.

35W a vast, quiet lake
Interstate35W was new in 1965and was usually humming with cars and trucks. It was submerged under a vast, quiet lake dotted with a few trees and road signs and closed off for a week between Bloomington and Highway 13.
The only traffic near the highway was a rowboat that was moored at the entrance to the Embassy Club and colorful pleasure boats of Aqua Craft Inc. that floated unperturbed in a neat row near the water-coveredmarina on the Bloomington side of the river.
Since all area river crossings were under water, motorists had to travelHighway 13to the Mendota Bridge. At times, traffic was backed up to BurnsvilleHigh School and was not moving
at all. So, motorists in the area of the River Hills neighborhood in Burnsvillemade the best of the situation by getting up a roadside ball game.
Many Burnsville residents with downtown jobs simply rented hotel rooms and stayed in town until the flood waters receded.
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Port Savage Crews Battle Desperately (Flood) 1965PART 1 = The St. Paul Pioneer Press features a story of Port Savage and the Flood of 1965.
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Port Savage Crews Battle Desperately (Flood) 1965Part 2- the remainder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press article on Port Savage during the 1965 flood.
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Flood 1965Allen's Mobile in Savage during the 1965 flood.
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Flood 1965Black Dog Power Plant in flood of 1965. Employees were taken by boat to the plant from the area now occupied by Black Dog Park.
Burnsville_Flood_1965_fr_76history.pdf
Flood of 1965 fr the 1976 Historypages 144 - 147

In 1965 a combination of heavy - winter snows and early spring rains brought flooding to the Minnesota Val­ley thqt was the worst in 100 years.
By the second weekend in April the waters of the Minnesota River were 21 feet over flood stage in the Burnsville- Savage area. Trains were halted, bridges inundated, and roads closed. The flood disrupted normal activities in the area for almost a week.
The greatest inconvenience was caused by the flooding of the then new 35W freeway. Under two feet of water in some places along the river bottoms, it was closed between Bloomington and Highway 13 for almost a week. With the Savage and Cedar Ave. brid­ges also under water, northbound traf­fic was routed over the Mendota Bridge and monumental traffic jams resulted. Many Burnsville residents with down­ town jobs simply rented hotel rooms and stayed in town.

Savage Village, protected by ex­tensive diking along Highway 13, was spared, but several river front indus­ tries in Savage and Burnsville were completely flooded and suffered heavy losses. The Richards Oil Company, west of Savage, lost its race with the river and abandoned diking. Its huge tanks, usually filled with oil, were emptied and partially refilled with water to keep them from floating away. Loss to the company was estimated by the President, Myron Richards, at $40,000.
At the Port Cargill grain terminal only two structures remained dry, a half-million bushel soybean tank and an elevator containing $16,000,000 worth of grain. Emergency help was called for to patch the dike protecting this structure.

The Embassy Club, now the Corner House, was flooded in spite of exten­sive diking. Owner, George Ellis, was forced to evacuate all furniture and equipment. Further diking and pumping, however, kept the water in the building down to one or two feet.

The Northern States Power Black Dog plant was completely surrounded by water and employees were taken to work in amphibious ducks . Electric power continued to be supplied to the area, however. Diking built to a height of 722 feet above sea level— flood stage is 698--protected Ed Kraemer and Sons, a sand and gravel operation located on the river bottoms in Burnsville.

When the flood waters threatened to seep into downtown Savage, Mayor Merrill Madsen announced on Friday morning, April 10, that the Village would be sandbagged. Local citizens from both Savage and Burnsville re­sponded with energy and determination. The first sandbagging crew, fifty high school seniors, began diking at noon. The work continued over the weekend with volunteers, sometimes 300 strong, manning the shovels and sandbags.

The teenagers, who worked espe­cially hard, earned the respect of everyone involved in the flood effort. Mayor Madsen expressed the feelings of many of the flood workers when he asserted that he didn't want to hear any more talk of juvenile delinquency. Teenage girls helped with the food service, and the boys composed more than half the work force at times, filling and lifting the heavy sandbags. Ten-year-olds, too small to carry the bags, held them while the older boys filled them up.
The operation was directed by the mayor and village council including Cleve Eno, Len Julkowski, John Knut­son, and Gene Kearney. Savage Po­ lice Chief Dick O'Keefe (who doubled as local civil defense director) handled traffic problems. The Burnsville police, the Highway Patrol, and the Dakota County Sheriff helped keep weekend sightseers out of the flood area.

Food service for the flood workers was set up by Mrs . George Allen, Jr. , who was assisted by a score of local women. Food was donated by the Scott County W elfare Department and the Red Cross. Hundreds of families in the Burnsville-Savage area brought homemade casseroles, cakes, and rolls. A serving station was set up
in the Savage fire barn with mobile units bringing hot coffee and sand­wiches to workers at the dikes and
in the sand pits. A thousand people were served in Savage on Sunday alone.

A first aid station was set up at St. James Lutheran Church in Burns­ville by Mrs. Jane Wisness, direc­tor of Red Cross nursing services
for Scott County. Transportation of flood workers to and from the Burns­ville High School where they gather­ ed was arranged for by Robert Pomije and other school officials. In addi­tion to local help, volunteers came from the Twin Cities and every sur­rounding community.

By Sunday afternoon a dike rang­ ing from two and a half feet to four feet high had been built on the north side of Highway 13 from the railroad trestle to the corner of Walnut Street. The Credit River, running through Sa­vage, was also diked. The Village felt secure by Monday, but high school students were sent out early in the week to strengthen the dikes and patch up any leaks. The main concern of the Burnsville public offi­cials was the sewage treatment plant. It, however, remained safe.

The flood caused a variety of unu­sual sights and experiences in the area. Traffic problems inconvenien­ced the largest number of residents.. . Sunday sightseers who attempted to cross 35W to the flooded areas ended up seeing little more than the tail lights of the car ahead. Traffic was backed
up from 106th Street in Bloomington to 90th for five hours. Motorists going to work Monday morning were stalled along Highway 13 from the Mendota
Bridge back to the Burnsville High School, traffic at times not moving at all. Motorists in the area of River Hills made the best of the situation by getting up a roadside ball game.

Freeway 35W .. .usually humming with cars and trucks. . .was submer­ged under a vast, quiet lake dotted with a few trees and road signs. A row boat was moored to the entrance to the Embassy Club. The colorful pleasure boats of Aqua Craft, Inc. floated unperturbed in a neat row near the water-covered marina on the Bloomington side of the river.
Four Minnesota twins players living in Burnsville beat the traffic jams Monday by getting an airlift to the season's opening game with the Yankees. Rich Rollins, Dick Stigmen, Bill Bethea, and Jim Kaat were picked up by helicopter at the Burns­ville High School at 9:30 a.m. and returned after the game. Several clas­ses of elementary age children loca­ted in the west wing of the building were thrilled to see the Twins waiting outside the school.

The Huntley-Brinkley newscast carried the Savage flood story. Their news team, recently back from Viet Nam, visited Savage and were given a tour of the flood area by local offi­cials.
When the flood waters finally rece­ded, the cleanup began, 35W streamed with cars, and the citizens of Burns­ville could get to work. But for several years after the flood, motorists crossing both the Savage and Cedar bridges could see high in the tree branches papers and bits of debris to remind them of those
high waters of 1965.

by Sara S. Daly
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The flood of 1965A view of Burnsville flooded in 1965 looking from Bloomington into Burnsville.
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The Embassy is flooded 1965The Embassy Restaurant flooded in the epic flood of 1965. It was owned and operated by Jens Casperson. during the flood school students were encouraged to assist with sandbagging. The interstate was flooded.
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1965 Flood UpdateCopy of photo which appeared in an April, 1965 edition of the Dakota County Tribune.
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1965 Flood UpdateA copy of a photo which appeared in an April, 1965 edition of the Dakota County Tribune.
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The flood of 1965The Dakota County Tribune features photos April 15, 1965 issue of the Flood in Burnsville/Savage. Included The Embassy Club under water, Flood waters covering Fort Cargill in Savage and Gretchen Allen of Savage in charge of feeding volunteer workers.
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Rising Rivers Swamp houses April 15, 1965The Dakota County Tribune shows the Minnesota River looking northeast toward St. Paul with the Cedar Avenue Bridge in the foreground. Photo by Wilard Steichen.
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1965 Flood UpdateStudents with sandbags during the 1965 flood.
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Flood 1965Highway 35 W looking south was ok for boat travel but not vehicles as shown in this photo. Embassy Club at arrow is under water.
Flood_article_Huddleston.pdf
Brief Nancy Huddleston article on floodsThe flood of 1965 was the worst one recorded by the National Weather Service, but others have come close to breaking marks recorded in Jordan, Carver; Chaska. Shakopee and Savage. Steve Buan, a hydrologist with the National Weather Service in Chanhassen, said it usually takes a combination of all four factors to create "historic" flooding.
"Some years we've had big snow packs, but we haven't had flooding," he explained, "That's because when there's a gradual melting of the snow pack, it can be handled. But when these other factors are combined with a big snow pack, then there's flooding." And, if spring rainfall is added into the equation, then flooding is compounded.as well, Buan noted.
All of these factors came together not only in 1965, but again in 1969,1997and 2001 - all years when the Minnesota river made life miserable for south-of the river residents.
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Flood at Connelly farm 1965Although located on Highway 13 and Cliff Road, Joe Connelly and his family faced flood issues.
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Flood 1965Usually Highways 13 and 101 are full of cars, but portions became a lake during the 1965 flood.
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1965 Flood rememberedIn the April, 1990 Savage Review, editor Del Stelling recalls the flood that hit Burnsville and Savage areas 25 years before.
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Flood 1965Highway 13/101 coming into Savage flooded in 1965.
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1965 Flood UpdateDakota County Tribune - April, 1965 - Columnist Elizabeth Kennealy reports on the flood.
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1965 Flood in SavageA view of Savage during the 1965 flood.
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Jens Embassy tipping telephone pole
The "Embassy" restaurant was a popular eating spot in Burnsville for many years. It has been flooded out at least once and remodeled often, and is now called "The Corner House."

(cars from the 1950s)
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The flood of 1965Dakota County Tribune reports on the flooding of Joe Connelly's farm at Highway 13 and Cliff Road.
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1965 Flood in SavageAn unidentified newspaper photo shows volunteer workers during the 1965 flood in Savage.
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1965 Flood in SavageAnother copy of a photo which appeared during the 1965 flood of the Savage, Burnsville areas.
Rembering_the_great_flood_of_1965_in_2015.pdf
Remembering the great flood of 1965 - in 2015June 19, 2015 Burnsville Sun/Thisweek News remembers the flood of 1965.

Historic crest was on April 15, 1965

Marc Bohn was flush with cash in the spring of 1965.

Before the Minnesota River crested at Savage, the 18-year-old got himself hired at the Port Cargill grain terminal to load bags of water-softener salt onto boxcars before the warehouse was inundated with floodwater.

Once the record-setting flood inundated most of Port Cargill, Bohn, the son of Savage dairy farmer Jens Bohn, was hired by the MNS Railroad as part of a crew reinforcing the approaches to the rail bridge between Savage and Bloomington.

Bohn remembers a narrow escape by moonlight from the Bloomington side back to Savage in a handcar with Savage resident Art Williams, a railroad foreman, and Art’s son Will.

“ ‘Well, we’d better go,’ ” Will, of Savage, recalls his father saying. “We came across the bridge through the water. It was coming right through the bottom of the bridge. We were the last ones to cross there that night. It was closed for a considerable amount of time.”

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the great flood, which closed the still-new stretch of I-35W for almost a week between Burnsville and Bloomington. In Savage, hundreds of people — including busloads of Burnsville High School students — laid thousands of sandbags, building a dike that would keep the river from seeping over Highway 13 into the city’s downtown business district and surrounding homes.

Bohn, now 68 and living in Burnsville, remembers it as a great time in his life, with his bulging pockets, senior year at Burnsville High and the community response all rolled into one.

“Savage started out by just getting 1,000 sandbags,” said Bohn, who later became a Savage firefighter and served as chief from 1976 to 1982. “They thought that would be more than enough. By the time they were done, it was 10,000. And it takes a great community effort to do that.”

The river crested at 719.4 feet at Savage, one of the measuring stations, on April 15, 1965, said Craig Schmidt, service hydrologist at the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.

At 17.4 feet above flood stage, the mark hasn’t been equaled, though the river did reach a crest of 716.9 feet in 1969, Schmidt said. Last June the river reached 713.3 feet, he said.

Frigid winter temperatures and massive, late-season snowfall set the stage for the ’65 flood, Schmidt said. The ground froze deep, and while winter produced relatively little snowpack, four March snowstorms struck central Minnesota, dumping 30 to 50 inches.

There were 25 inches of snow on the ground at the airport on March 29. Temperatures rose, the melt was rapid and the ground was still thawing from its deep-freeze.

“This is basically a perfect recipe for a flood,” Schmidt said at a Feb. 28 panel discussion on the historic flood held by the Burnsville Historical Society.

River bridges were closed from Chaska to Mendota, historical society member Bonnie Boberg wrote in a February column for this newspaper. Boberg was a University of Minnesota senior commuting to school from Prior Lake, where she lived with her parents.

“The Mendota Bridge was the only way across the river. I tried!” wrote Boberg, who went on to become a longtime newspaper reporter and editor in Burnsville. “But traffic was backed up from the Mendota Bridge to Burnsville High School and beyond to Savage and Shakopee. Water was licking up the sides of Highway 13. It was a nightmare, taking up to four hours to travel one way and then another four hours for just the return trip.

“I finally gave up, as did many more. Some just stopped going to work, some choosing to work from home; others, like me, moved in with relatives on the other side of the river until the floodwaters receded.”

I-35W was transformed into a “vast, quiet lake dotted with a few trees and road signs,” according to an account by Sara S. Daly in “Burnsville ’76,” a community history book. The old Embassy restaurant west of the freeway in Burnsville was submerged, a row boat moored to its entrance.

The Minnesota Twins opened their 1965 season on Monday, April 12, with the prospect of four players — including starting pitcher Jim Kaat — being stranded by traffic at their Burnsville homes.

A helicopter came to fetch the four — Kaat, Rich Rollins, Dick Stigman and Bill Bethea — at 9:30 a.m. at the high school.

“Several classes of elementary age children located in the west wing of the building were thrilled to see the Twins waiting outside the school,” Daly wrote.

Sandbagging in Savage was suspended on April 12, with enough reinforcement to control the expected crest, Bohn said. The high school students who joined other Savage and Burnsville residents in the effort had a great time, he said.

The teens worked “especially hard” and earned the community’s respect, according to Daly’s account.

Savage Mayor Merrill Madsen “expressed the feelings of many of the flood workers when he asserted that he didn’t want to hear any more talk of juvenile delinquency.”
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