This week marks the 40 year anniversary of the Teton Dam Disaster. To commemorate the flood, Special Collections is sponsoring two open houses on Thursday, June 2, from 2-4 and 6-8 pm. Videos of the flood as well as histories of the event will be shown and a special guest speaker will discuss the experiences of those who lived through the event as recorded in oral histories. This week, a blog post will be posted every day highlighting the oral history of one survivor of the flood.
John D. Nielson and his family lived in Rexburg at the time of the flood. Although they knew about the flood and had seen houses floating, they didn’t realize the extent of the damage they would face at their home. The water had ranged from five to eight feet high in their home, and all their books and photos were ruined. “One thing, I think I would have been more upset if it had been only us that had suffered the damage, but when the whole town had suffered the same kind of damage, it sort of didn’t seem quite so bad. I just found it an interesting experience.”
John describes how his neighbors who had never been close now were helping each other clean up their homes. He describes how the LDS Church and the government helped with the cleanup and repair of the flood.
To read John’s whole interview, click here.