Lincoln’s Fatal Flood, July 6, 1908

This year’s rainy season has been made more tolerable, and safer, thanks to flood control initiatives over the last 60 years. But on July 6, 1908, nearly seven inches of rain fell on the capital city, with 2.5 inches coming in one two-hour period. The creeks in the Salt Creek watershed became torrents.

How bad was it? The State Department of Natural Resources reports, “the peak discharge (rate of flow) was estimated at 30,650 cubic feet per second (13,755,720 gallons per minute); for reference, the average flow for early April is only 140 cubic feet per second.”

The “North Bottoms” –bottom land home to part of Lincoln’s Germans from Russia community–bore the brunt of the damage. O Street was flooded from 8th Street East to 24th Street West, according to the Nebraska State Journal. The entire Antelope valley was flooded south to G Street. Worst of all, nine people were killed, many houses were destroyed, and 1,000 people were made homeless.

Flooding in the eastern third of Nebraska in May of 1950 claimed another 14 lives. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built a series of lakes in the area to provide greater flood control. Even so, in 1993, water was so high the Bob Devaney sports complex required sandbagging for protection.

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

The 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address – March 4, 2011

The 150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address – March 4, 2011

Marker Monday: Mari Sandoz

Marker Monday: Mari Sandoz

How ‘Equality Before the Law’ became our state motto

How ‘Equality Before the Law’ became our state motto

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast.

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.