Flashback Friday Encore: Town of Lemoyne Sacrificed for Lake McConaughy, 1941

Lemoyne population sign, ca. 1938 [NSHS RG5995.AM, B22, V1]


This year marks 75 years since the completion of Kingsley Dam and the creation of Lake McConaughy just north of Ogallala, Nebraska. Several different festivities are happening this weekend to commemorate the anniversary. For information about events happening this weekend, July 23-24, at Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala to celebrate Kingsley Dam’s 75th anniversary, click here. If you’re looking for a more enduring way to learn more about one of Nebraska’s greatest feats of engineering, we can help.

This spring the NSHS received a large collection of research files on the history of the building of Kingsley Dam and the moving of the town of Lemoyne. The collection was compiled over a 50 year period by Cora Baumann, a local historian and former resident of Lemoyne. Lemoyne was in the area that would become Lake McConaughy, so the entire town had to be moved to higher ground. It became Baumann’s mission to document the history of Lemoyne and the families displaced by the flooding of Lake McConaughy.

Cora Baumann passed away in 2006, but through the generosity of her son Loy, Baumann’s collection was donated to the NSHS Archives in Lincoln where it is available for public research. For more information about the collection, see the full inventory on our website.

Over the next several months we hope to provide you with various selections from the Baumann collection. But, for now, I will leave you with this poem by Lemoyne resident Julius Hoffman:

Old Lemoyne Is Gone Old LeMoyne is gone The dwellers moved on Down in the deep There lays the street We used to walk upon Now for the fish And Kingsley’s wish No more mail Nor grocery sale Men had to relinquish Tis wrong not right To put out of sight Tis gone for ever There ranchers never More spend the night How time will change And so arrange No street no alley Down in the valley To us seems strange It came it went By man’s consent Tis no more there And those that care Experienced the event I sympathize with those That had to dispose Of their real estate Had to evacuate Before the water arose In the later years The traveler hears Beneath the lake They used to take Freight on running gears Some may look In a history book Of what some made note And some that wrote Of what the reservoir took Or it wouldn’t be long Forgotten and gone Lemoyne and we That used to be The earth rolls on And Kingsleys he That used to be Thought it worth To rebuild the earth And all is vanity


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