Students of the flood remember ‘93 - Republic-Times | News

Students of the flood remember ‘93

By on August 1, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Pictured is the old Valmeyer High School submerged during the Flood of 1993. (submitted photo)

On Aug. 1, 1993, the Mississippi River crested at nearly 50 feet and, despite weeks of valiant fighting, burst through a levee south of Columbia. 

The first victim of the merciless water was Virgil Gummersheimer’s farmstead, but Valmeyer would soon follow. 

The flood ravaged the town, forcing the community to relocate to higher ground on top of the bluffs. 

After years of hard work, on Sept. 28, 1996, the village dedicated its new home. 

At the event, former mayor Dennis Knobloch, who had led the town throughout the flood and relocation process, gave a speech. In it, he discussed the impact of the flood of the children of the village.

“The kids here have lived a lifetime in the past three years,” he said. “They lived through a flood, the loss of their homes, the loss of their town and the rebuilding of their lives. They don’t realize it now, but in years to come they’re going to look back and be amazed at what they’ve been through.” 

For the 25th anniversary of the flood destroying old Valmeyer, three former students and two former teachers reflected on the natural disaster and its impact on their lives. 

The Valmeyer High School band performs the school song during the groundbreaking for the new school. (submitted photo)

Memories washed away
When the floodwaters poured into old Valmeyer, they did not discriminate. They destroyed houses, businesses, churches and the town’s school. 

“We were kind of shielded from it as kids,” said Dennis’ son, Greg Knobloch, who was entering the seventh grade when the flood happened.

“I remember more of the aftermath – going down and just seeing everything and, as a kid, seeing how just a little bit of water caused all that destruction and the mess that it left,” he said. 

But the children could not be completely shielded from the effects of the flood. 

“It was scary and kind of weird seeing the parents cry or be upset,” said Angela Helms, who was 13 and about to enter eighth grade in the summer of 1993. “That wasn’t a side of them you usually got to see as a kid…>>>

Read the rest of this article in the August 1, 2018, issue of the Republic-Times newspaper.

If you don’t already receive the paper, you can subscribe by calling 939-3814 or clicking here, or pick up a copy at any of these locations.

You can also read a three-part, award-winning series written in 2013 by Andrea Degenhart-Saathoff  commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Flood of 1993:
1993: beginning of the end for old Valmeyer
Dark days for Valmeyer in ’93
After the flood: Valmeyer moves to higher ground

James Moss