Although the Marais des Cygnes River had flooded regularly during the period Ottawa has existed, sometimes flooding more than once a year, the flood of 1951 was the highest water during that period. Historians believe that the Great Flood of 1844 was bigger, but very few Franklin Countians were on the ground to see it.
The 1951 flood rose to a height of 42.25 feet, 18.25 feet above flood stage. Its devastation prompted citizens of the region to take their pleas for flood control to Washington, and this lobbying produced results.
Click on the first image to read the captions.