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Almost Yesterday is a glimpse into the rich history of our region. Dr. Frank Nickell takes listeners on a journey to specific moments in time, such as the first radio broadcast on KFVS, the history of Farmington’s Carleton College, and the short-lived safari on a Mississippi River island. A gifted storyteller and local historian, Dr. Nickell’s wit and love for the past are combined with sounds and music that augment his narrative.On Saturday, June 7, 2008, Almost Yesterday received First Place in the "Special Programs" category at the Missouri Broadcasters Association Awards Banquet in Kansas City, Missouri.Almost Yesterday airs every Wednesday at 5:42 and 7:42 a.m. and 5:18 p.m.Local support for Almost Yesterday is provided by Ted Yates, Attorney Law. In Cape Girardeau and online at semolaw.com.

Almost Yesterday: The Great Greenville Flood

The St. Francis River rose at a rate of twelve inches per hour on August 20, 1915. By six o'clock that evening, the river inundated the town of Greenville, Missouri.
Southeast Missouri State University
The St. Francis River rose at a rate of twelve inches per hour on August 20, 1915. By six o'clock that evening, the river inundated the town of Greenville, Missouri.

It seems like Almost Yesterday when the community of Greenville, Missouri experienced a disastrous flood. The event was the most extensive flood in the history of the small town on the St. Francis River, and caused such destruction that it permanently altered the region.

The flood was precipitated by a persistent rain that fell for nearly one week, followed by a heavy downpour on the night of August 19.  By Friday morning, August 20, the St. Francis was rising at the rate of twelve inches per hour. By six p. m. the river inundated the town.

Residents of the community moved most of the livestock to safety, raised furniture, and took refuge on the second floors of the school, business buildings and the homes of friends who lived on high ground.

But, the high level of the water that spread across the town was not anticipated, reaching a depth of five feet in homes and streets, with significant damage to homes and businesses.

Heavy rains in the middle of August were rare and this one destroyed autumn harvests.

The built landscape also suffered, as bridges, trestles, railroad ties, and levees were washed away, resulting in the loss of passenger, mail and freight service.  Sheriff Hughes returned home from St. Louis, walking in from Poplar Bluff.

The flood of 1915 exceeded the record high waters of 1904, which resulted from a combination of heavy rain and the breaking of a dam on Big Creek. Residents assumed that level would never be exceeded.

Damages from the floods of 1915, 1927, and 1935 contributed to the development of Lake Wappapello and the 1941 re-location of the entire town of Greenville.

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