This letter below was written by my Great Aunt and Uncle, George and Atha (Farnham) Sherwood and sent to my Grandparents, Herman and Susan Sherwood Weber who lived in Kendall, Wisconsin. The letter mostly talks about the Salt Lake City Flood of 1952. The letter describes their first-hand experiences and observations. This is a public domain photo of the Jordan River that was the route of the flood waters. It's not too relevant, but it's always nice to have a photo on a blog post : -). The scattered references to Orry (Orion), Homer, Richard and Georgie, are regarding their sons. Great Uncle George worked for the post office and, although it is likely obvious to most, his reference to ship is aircraft.
Salt Lake City, UT;
May 15, 1952
[Begins with Atha’s handwriting]
Just got back this evening about 6 o’clock from W.S.C.S. convention in Montrose, Colorado and was glad to find a letter from you but sorry not to have written you sooner about the floods etc. Hadn’t found time to write Orry and Barbara much so asked Hattie if she would call them as she went through Chicago and relieve their minds until I could get a letter off to them.
Have been trying so hard to get a few things done which have been hanging on so long and been a big worry since I just couldn’t seem to ever get at them to get them out of the way. Will tell you all about them when I get back there as it’s easier to talk than write and I’ll probably have more time then. Have two more projects I’d like to complete so very much before our vacation and the one at the Church just about must be done before I leave.
We have all been so very fortunate in that none of us have been damaged by the floods though it came within a block north of us and the neighbors, including George, worked until late into the night damming it off with sandbags and turning it back into the river still raging about 3 ft deep and about the width of the street down 13th South. They have now built a bridge across 13th South and Main street so the traffic can get through without going so far around as they had to do for several weeks. They have also made banks of sand about 5 feet high all along 13th South now in hopes it will take care of anything coming down from now on. Have also had a few cold days and nights which have slowed up the thawing of snow in some places and helped a great deal.
They have dredged the Jordan river (and also the surplus canal) to lower the bottom and piled it along the banks to raise the height of the banks so they will carry all the water possible and have the situation pretty well under control now so we are hoping it will not spread to damage any more than it already has. It really is just too bad for the many homes and places who are flooded and evacuated and I feel so sorry for them but am so glad that all of the evacuees places did not get it as was feared when they were ordered to evacuate.
One night it came up into Richard’s front yard but not bad and their neighborhood was able to sandbag it off and now it isn’t bothering in that neighborhood.
Homer was fortunate enough to be a block north of the district evauated so he hasn’t had any flood trouble and only trouble with the water table rising so that it raised through the floor in his basement but again he was very fortunate as he and Dad hadn’t had time to pour a cement floor in his basement yet so they made a sump and put in an automatic sump pump and it is taking care of it very nicely.
Will explain in more details about it all when we see you. But unless something unexpected happens things seem to be under control now so that it is hoped it will not spread farther to do more damage.
As to how things are going to work out for Georgie so we can plan accordingly we will not know yet for a few days.
[Switches to George’s handwriting]
Dear Susan, Herman and all. On my lunch time at the airport and must hurry if get this off on trip 134. If this is pretty disconnected forgive as the boys have radio on pretty loud and it ain’t music either.
Anyhow, we still plan to leave here for Wisconsin June 7 as early as possible. Sort of expect to come through via Casper Wyo and through Sparta, but may decide to reverse and come in via Chicago and go back that or some other way. Will depend on how much time – if any – George has to be with us and when. Orion & Babs can come up to Kendall for a weekend if at all. So far not at all sure that there will be more than the old folks -- Dora, Guy, Atha & I. And reason I have not written sooner is partly uncertainly of my own position. An order forbidding further extension of annual leave privileges during June and rest of May came out, but our office expects to be able to accommodate me since I made verbal application over 2 months ago and posted probable dates of absence on the sheet at the Airport. This may still not work out if conditions of finances for balance of fiscal year becomes tighter.
As ship will soon be here must hurry on. We expect to have funds available for trip east so suggest you wait until we arrive then if we run into difficulty we can perhaps borrow what we need for return trip. Ha! Ha! Sounds ominous for you, if you are ever to get rid of us. That that way we can better gauge requirements and will not be carrying all eggs in one basket. Thanks for offer of loan – may have to after we arrive in Kendall, but hold until we see.
Bye - bye - ship here
George, Atha and Family