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Old Photos: At The Bottom Of The Tuttle Creek Lake

In June 1960 the Life Magazine published the following report about the imminent flooding of the Tuttle Creek Reservoir.

Forlorn End For a Valley.

In the verdant farmlands of the Blue River valley in northeastern Kansas, where 3,000 people found themselves in the path of progress, only a sorrowful handful still stayed near ghost towns. The reservoir for the Tuttle Creek flood-control dam would inundate 15,000 acres. In many cases it would swallow up the farms and limestone homesteads built up by the owners’ pioneer ancestors.

The cost of resettling and the beginning of new lives came high. New property usually costs more than the fees awarded for the old. It was a sad wrench, especially for the old people. But the uprooted Kansans have one consolation. They will live near what will eventually be the state’s largest recreation area.

Bitter sign was built by Men’s Club, believing dam putting town under 75 feet of water unneeded. © Time Inc.Thomas Mcavoy

Probably the eeriest photo of all – this place is at the bottom of the lake.

The lingering remainder of Bigelow’s former 300 residents gather in front of the town Post Office, where the flag still bravely flies.© Time Inc.Thomas Mcavoy

Leveling home of Mrs. Amelia Grub built of limestone in 1876, a two-foot-thick wall is pulled down. Owner’s son razed it to get stone for shed. Government crews clear most of the reservoir basin.© Time Inc.Thomas Mcavoy

© Time Inc.Thomas Mcavoy

© Time Inc.Thomas Mcavoy

Old rocking chair on porch of abandoned house.© Time Inc.Thomas Mcavoy

Cleburne, KS, US © Time Inc.Thomas Mcavoy

Carpenters salvaging lumber from house being demolished to make way for new dam.© Time Inc.Thomas Mcavoy

House being demolished to make way for new dam.© Time Inc.Thomas Mcavoy

Land being cleared of houses to make way for new dam.© Time Inc.Thomas Mcavoy

Relocation Of People Of Blue Valley, Kansas, Site Of Tuttle Creek Dam.© Time Inc.Thomas Mcavoy

© Time Inc.Thomas Mcavoy

© Time Inc.Thomas Mcavoy