Our indexer Dee has finished describing the Candace Waugaman Collection. Fairbanks Floods Photographs which we have put online in Alaska’s Digital Archives. Here’s what she has to say:
I have some heart for these photos, a personal connection, as my parents and my older sister, six months at the time, endured the 1967 flood firsthand when unusually heavy rains swelled the Chena Rivers six feet above flood stage, resulting in one of the worst disasters in the history of Alaska. The flood displaced nearly 7,000 people from their homes, including my own family who evacuated their home and took refuge with their dear friend, Libby Wescott, winner of the 1960 North American Championship dog race, and her husband, Bob for two weeks until the waters slowly receded.
This flood was destructive – roads, bridges and railroad tracks were washed away; homes were destroyed; buildings were wrecked, causing around $80 million worth of damage.
Photos in this collection show the flood waters reaching stunning heights – almost completely submerging entire cars! There was great destruction, but even sadder, tragedy, as seven people lost their lives to the 1967 flood.
Eighteen of the 39 photos in this collection capture images of the 1967 flood. The other 21 photos include photos of the Chena River floods in 1937, 1948, 1960, 1963, and 1964.
To put it mildly, Fairbanks had to endure many a flood before the devastation of the 1967 one captured Congress’ attention and authorized the Chena River Lake Flood Control Project. This flood control project established by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, consisting of a dam about 40 miles up the Chena River from Fairbanks has prevented any further flooding in Fairbanks and the surrounding areas.