Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Finding Underwear

If you live in Sugar City, your life is in some ways influenced by the Teton Dam flood of 1976. Most notably, there's a dividing line (psychologically) between those who lived here during the flood, and those who move dhere after the flood. We fall into the second category. I was only four years old when the Teton Dam broke in June 1976, but I do have vivid memories of Dad taking us up to the Rexburg area to see the wreckage -- I remember seeing railroad tracks coiled up like slinkies, houses half on the road and bits of road washed out completely. That being said, it was interesting to find these pictures. The first shows the entire city under the flood waters. The second, below, is more interesting.

This photo shows the 100 block of North Fremont Avenue, where we live now. North is to the top of this photo, with Fremont Avenue running diagonally out of the right-hand side of the shot. Our house sits on the lot with the mobile home in the front yard, squashed up against the house. None of the houses you see in this picture are still there, with the possible exception of the 1 ½ story house in the upper center of the photo (with the mobile home squashed up against the side). As far as I can tell, only two structures in this photo still stand – the one-car garage (with the light-blue sedan poking out of it, just to the left of center) and the two-story pillbox-looking shed near the center right of the photo. By all evidence, Sugar City was a real shotgun shack town even before the flood occurred. Someone also had a pink house. A pink house. Yikes. What is interesting about this layout, however, is this: Ours is a very narrow lot compared to the others on the block. I’d always half suspected that there were fewer homes on the block before the flood, and that after, someone subdivided a lot. Not so. There were eight houses on the block then, and eight houses on the block now. Each home, however, has been replaced by a much larger home. Ours is likely the smallest on the block, and it’s still 1,800 square feet. I can see here that the house that was on the lot before ours was rather long and narrow, matching the size of the lot. Ours now practically straddles the lot. It’s only about four feet from the southern property line, perhaps ten or twelve from the northern. Not a very convenient layout, but then again, homes being built back then weren’t built to fit the lot, were they?

If I can remember, I'll dredge up a picture my wife took of our block from a small plane at a somewhat similar angle, so y'all can see what the town looks like now. Or at least how it looked when she took the picture.

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