Remembrance of the '48 flood
October 25, 2012
Bonners Ferry Flood of 1948 as seen from
"Two months before
the '48 flood, we moved to our home on the South
Hill. Three families stayed with us, and I
converted my old Texaco service station (now
Mugsy's) into headquarters for dike walkers.
"When the flood came, I can still remember the
water coming across Main Street. It didn't upset
us much because everybody in town was working
together and pulled together.
"After the flood waters had receded, we counted
our blessings and were happy to go back down
there and clean it up.
"It was a way of life and we had grown up with
"When the Corps of Engineers came in to help, we
had to teach them how to fight a boil. They
thought they could throw a few sacks on a boil
and that would stop it!
"I remember saying to one big guy, 'you can't
stop the water that way.' He said, 'What
do you mean, kid?' I said 'You've got to go
around it and let it seek its own level.
"So we started sandbagging around it and he
said, 'by God, kid, you were right.'"
Conversation with Monk Shelman
Born September 16, 1913, Hopkins, Missouri
Moved to Bonners Ferry as a boy
Died September 18, 1999, Bonners Ferry
Remember this? Add your comment!
Just adding a bit to the ‘48 flood column. My
mom, Mary Snodgrass, was pregnant with me when
she and my older brother had to be taken from
the old ‘Ferry House’ at Copeland in a boat. My
oldest sister and her three kids also had to be
rescued just before my mom and brother were.
They were in the house with us. My dad, Monte
Snodgrass, ran the Copeland ferry for awhile. I
guess the house washed down the river a couple
of hours after we were all rescued.
I remember vividly U.S. 95 being flooded just
after the S-curve and the railroad over pass. My
Dad was all for plowing through it, but the head
cook commenced to squealing somewhat about
falling off into the valley, so our trip to
Spokane was canceled that day.
Some time in the early 1960s, perhaps 1962 or
'63, not sure which, Dad and I left the boat
ramp at Bonners early one morning and boated to
almost Trout Creek.
At some point, Dad shot a very large black bear
swimming in the river. We had to get Bill and
John Lefebvre to help drag the thing out of the
river so we could get it cleaned out and then
loaded back into the boat.
We had about three inches of freeboard after the
critter was in the boat, and all that distance
back to town to cover.
Needless to say, it was plumb dark when we got
to the boat launch. Edna Ashby (my mother) was
beside herself with worry.
The next day your dad, Paul Flinn, came over to
the house to see this monstrous bear and he
quickly pronounced it the largest black bear he
I used to have pictures of your dad and mine
along side the bear, but, of course, over the
years they got lost somewheres.
Keep up the colum Jack, we need that to remind
us old guys what it was really like growing up
Michael T. Ashby