The Noyes Dike

by

Connie Nordstrom

 

For many years previous to 1968, tiny Noyes, Minnesotatried to get the federal government to finance a dike. Because Noyes wasnot incorporated into a city and not considered a village, government headswere always turned toward the needs of incorporated villages which leftNoyes at the mercy of every flood. While the surrounding towns were busybuilding temporary dikes, the people of Noyes were moving away.

The cities in the Red River Valley suffered through threemajor floods when the Red River of the North overran its banks and floodedthe entire river area. It wasn't until the 1966 flood that the people ofNoyes stood up and demanded that something be done. In 1966, the city ofPembina put up a temporary dike which was mostly federally financed. NeighboringSt. Vincent and Noyes were overlooked. As a result, homes in these twocommunities were badly damaged by flood waters that year.

In 1967, St. Vincent finally got the people in the communityinterested and built a dike around the town, with aid from the federal government.

In 1968, once again, the Red River was threatening to floodits banks. Noyes was the only place in the area without a dike. St. Vincenthad a dike, Pembina again had their temporary dike intact, and Emerson,Manitoba had a dike around the city. With all these towns diked, the waternaturally would have a greater effect on tiny Noyes. A few people of Noyesgot in touch with the Army Corps of Engineers and pointed out that Noyeswould have a greater loss now, especially since the other towns were diked. Army Corps of Engineers personnel visited Noyes and met with various countyand local officials. The format was finally set for the dike. The nextstep was to secure land and easements from land owners where the dike wouldbe placed.

Many residents volunteered their land. Mrs. Helen McKay,William Wilkie, Carmen Curtis, and Norman G. Jensen graciously gave themeasements to place the dike.

When easements were all made, there was still a matterof dirt for the dike. It was difficult to get dirt, for the April groundwas either still frozen or very wet and muddy. However, 80 trucks wereleased, financed by the government, and the long hours of hauling truckloadafter truckload of dirt began. The dike was started on a Friday night andfinished on a Sunday night, four thousand eight hundred thirty feet of dikewere built and every bit of it was hauled in by trucks. By Monday morning,the people of Noyes felt secure from the waters of the Red River. On Tuesdaymorning the flood waters were lapping against the newly erected dike, givingthe people of Noyes a deep feeling of appreciation to the men who spenthours on it, to the government, and to the people who signed the easements. All that had to be done from that point on was to watch it closely forbreaks. The constant pressure from the flood waters could cause a dangerousbreak.

The towns people took turns walking the dike 24 hours aday until the flood waters receded. Many people felt Noyes would neverhave had a dike built had it not been for the federal building. Noyes,Minnesota is and has been the principal ports of entry for the midwest. The dike saved the Customs Building from the terrible flood waters andit saved the town as well. Had it not been for the dike, Noyes would probablybe even small than it is now.

 

Bibliography

Curtis, Carmen, Interview, February 1, 1973

Nordstrum, Robert, Interview, January 23, 1973NT SIZE=+1>Nordstrum, Robert, Interview, January 23, 1973