UA Journey

Part 4

Representatives of federal disaster and loan agencies address a crowd of more than 350 Fairbanks area businessmen in Schaible Hall.

This story about the university's important role in Fairbanks' 1967 flood appeared in July-August 1967 issue of Now in the North.

Neighboring residents responded with a variety of pumps but none had hoses. After another urgent call, hoses were brought and plant workmen hurriedly improvised a Frankenstein-like maze of pumps and hoses and the fight to keep the water down jumped into a higher gear.

By 5 p.m. of that August 15, the battle to save the plant had gone on for nine hours and at that point, the army of volunteers and plant workmen were staying even with the flood waters.

A refugee mother and her children, living on campus, bask in the sun on the law outside the university library.From 5 to 6 p.m., the water rose to within an inch and a half of the control equipment and the situation looked grim. A counter-attack by the pumps and volunteers gained back a half-inch and that's the way things stayed for the next four hours—a stalemate.

At 11 p.m., the U.S. Army rushed a 12,000-gallon-a-minute pump to the scene and after that, the battle turned quickly. The flood waters retreated in the basement and the fight to save the plant was won. Later in the week, the plant again began receiving power front Golden Valley and the crisis began to ease even further.

At the end of two weeks the plant was back to normal operation and except for cleanup work, there was little evidence that the plant had been the focal point of one of the most dramatic developments in the university's role as an evacuation center.

The Geophysical Institute became a Salvation Army food distribution center. Food supplies were given to evacuees living in areas near campus and in homes on campus.

Part 3

Public Service: An Added Dimension, Fairbanks Flood 1967


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