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Steve Lekwa, Story County Conservation Officer wrote the following information in late May of 2007:

(Edit: Steve reported after the following was written that the 2007 crest did exceed that of 1996)

“The flood of '96 is still the highest flood on record for the South Skunk near Ames. This spring's (2007) flood is second highest, and 1993 is third.

“The Izaak Walton League managed a recreation area below the old mill dam in the 1930's

“The Iowa Conservation Commission purchased 18 acres from the Arrasmith's as a river access area after WW2 and transferred ownership to Story County in 1962.

“The original mill stone (from Soper's Mill) was displayed at the site for many years, but was later taken to the Izaak Walton Park east of Ames. Story County Conservation found it there, had it restored by Nevada Monument, and now displays it at McFarland Park. Pages 46 and 54

“The WPA built a low head dam at the west end of Soper's Mill some time in the 1930's. The dam was washed out by the 1950's, but an old pipe that was part of the dam remains.

“Story County Conservation and the Iowa DNR built a riffle dam near the canoe access point first in around 1990. It was rebuilt and improved in 2006 as a fish habitat improvement.

“The first 93 acres of McFarland Park was purchased from the McFarland family in 1969 with additional purchases in later years that brought the park to its current total of over 200 acres. Active land acquisition from willing sellers for a Skunk River Greenbelt followed, and continues today as willing sellers and funding are available. The SRGB is not continuous from Ames to Story City as the original plan proposed, but contains over 800 acres. Trails exist where there is enough public land to make construction worthwhile. The SRGB was begun as an alternative to the proposed Skunk River Reservoir by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The project would have flooded most of the valley from just NE of Ames to Story City. The project was deauthorized by Congress several years ago, and SCCB is attempting to obtain the now surplus federal land.

“SCCB has acquired several prairie wetland remnants in Milford Twp and manages them for wildlife habitat. They include the 10 acre Cooper's Prairie Marsh in Sect. 21, the 12 acre Larson Marsh in Sect. 34, and the 65 acre Jim Ketelsen Greenwing Marsh in Sect. 31. Countless other wetlands were drained to make farming possible. Several other prairie pothole wetlands remain in private hands, and at least one 40 acre site has seen extensive prairie and wetland restoration by its owner in recent years. The I-35 Prairie View Area was created by the IDOT in 1967 as a likely lake overlook when it was assumed the reservoir would be built. It contains both native remnant and reconstructed prairie, a hiking trail, and the still beautiful view across the valley. Locals sometimes referred to it as "Ladybird Lookout", a reference to First Lady Johnson's national roadside beautification campaign. SCCB manages the prairie remnants and trail for the IDOT, and has done so for over 20 years.”

Edit: McFarland Park occupies about 253 acres in the south of Sec 7 and Soper's Mill is in the NE of the NW of Sec 7. The Isaac Walton League has about 70 acres in the middle of Sec 36 of Franklin Twp. Max Arrasmith had a nice sized gravel pit in the NW of Sec 7 of Milford Twp.

Glen Egland `43 writes: "In 1931 I moved with my parents and older brother from Jewell, Ia, to a farm in Milford Twp, the School was a 12 yr School, (NO kindergarten in those days) with no town around. Therefore it was Milford Twp Consolidated School with addresses of six different towns. All Farm Ground.

“I went 12 yrs at Milford but one classmate, Salley Hansen, and myself were the only two in our class of 10 that started and ended there. The reason for that was most farms were rented, so every March 1st there was a lot of moving to different farms in and out of the Twp. We were lucky because Dad's Uncle was "well to do" so he let Dad farm it for about 18 years.

“There are three yrs I remember especially. 1934 and 1936 summers were especially hot. We slept on the porch or in the yard some nights because of the heat. I am not sure of the year ?1936? but we had a snowstorm one winter. Our road had a snowdrift on the road south of our house that was so bad it took the County snowplow plus 10 or 12 men with shovels all night to clear a one lane path. They worked with moonlight and lanterns. We were out of school for a week. The other years was 1944 or `45. We had 8 inches of rain one night and 6 inches the next night. It took out bridges over creeks and washed out roads. It took fence lines wire and posts 1/2 to 3/4 mile in one string. We had a bridge over our creek, after the rain it was in the middle of the road a half mile away. It was under water there, and if anyone had been driving that night I can't imagine what would have happened.

“In the high school class rooms, with the great assembly room which probably held 50 desks which was the whole High School- 4 Classes. As you went from grade to grade you worked your way closer to the door that went to the hall. When I graduated I got a desk 3rd from the door. That made me a big wheel for 1 year out of 12 years. “Milford had a big turnover of Supts and Teachers also. They would move on to bigger schools and town schools, or the Lady teachers would get married. They couldn't teach in those days if they were married. Some would get married out of the County so they could finish the year. But, we had a lot of good teachers and Supts. My first Supt was Mr Morgan. He controlled that school with an iron will, plus his paddle which a lot of the high school boys felt. "Bend over and grab your ankles" was his command, not a request. You have to remember the boys were tough farm

Page 294 of 354

© 2012 Mark Christian
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