The Missouri River Flood of 1881

Posted by Brian Gevik on
Images Courtesy Yankton County Historical Society

In March of 1881, winter ice on the Missouri River between Pierre, South Dakota and Omaha, Nebraska broke with disastrous consequences. Huge floating chunks of ice jammed the river channel, creating ice dams that held back that season's copious amount of meltwater. When those dams broke, the water was released and low-lying areas in towns like Yankton and Vermillion quickly found themselves inundated.

ice dams on the missouri river

Yankton flooding 1881

Yankton flooding 1881

ice

excelsior flour mill 1881

missouri river flood 1881

kunze brick yard Yankton

riverboat in the missouri river flood of 1881

1881 flood on Capitol Street Yankton

1881 flood in Yankton

1881 flood in Yankton

riverboat in the missouri river flood of 1881