Al Clark


Written Memory


September 16, 2009


As I had just graduated in '72 with my MS in Chemical Engineering, and Dow Chemical did not offer much in vacation for new employees, I took a road trip to the University of California at Davis to visit a friend before traveling to Michigan to start my new job. As I had no money, I took another recent graduate with me to pay for the trip as he had some business in California. While in California we heard on the news about the flood and my traveling friend was worried by the safety of his wife who we had left in Rapid. He could not contact his wife as most of the phone lines had been designated for out bound calls only (no cell phones then). So we immediately, like 2 am, left Davis and headed for Rapid. We arrived early in the morning (2:00 am), we could smell the death as we approached Rapid and we promptly met by the police (we weren't aware of the curfew). They escorted us to his house, up on Star Hill, where his wife was soundly sleeping, as she had spent the day working with the police to tally the victim’s names.

I wondered what happened to my Master's Thesis, as it was stored in the basement of the library which was totally flooded, destroying all the old mining journals that went back to the 1800s and other books and materials. And when I went by, they were shoveling out the muddy remains of those materials and dumping the muddy trash into a dump truck. Fortunately my Thesis (no electronic copies back then) was in a plastic bag, on a wooden table, in the AV room that merely filled with water (i.e. the walls did not collapse), and when they pumped out the basement, the table floated back down, so the my Thesis survived with very little water damage.



“Al Clark,” Flood of 1972, accessed October 2, 2022,