On July 31, 1976, a flash flood in the Big Thompson Canyon, just west of Loveland, Colorado, claimed 144 lives. The David McComb Big Thompson Flood Collection consists of oral history tapes and transcripts along with photographs, slides, audiotapes, newspaper clippings, and other material Colorado State University history professor Dr. David McComb compiled during research for his book Big Thompson: Profile of a Natural Disaster. For more information see the finding aid.

This digital collection, with materials dated 1976 to 1985, includes oral histories, lists of survivors and the deceased, slides of flood damage, and audio recordings of radio broadcasts, interviews, and meetings. Also included are a script and slides for the presentation "Diversion: The Colorado-Big Thompson Water Project" created by the Estes Park Area Historical Museum and the Estes Park Public Library to tell the story of the Colorado-Big Thompson transmountain diversion.

Recent Submissions

  • "Diversion: The Colorado-Big Thompson Water Project." Script 

    Author(s):Estes Park Area Historical Museum; Colorado State University. Libraries
    Date:1984-1985
    Presentation about the development of the Colorado-Big Thompson Project. Presented by the Estes Park Area Historical Museum and the Estes Park Public Library
  • KIIX Radio, reel 9 

    Author(s):KIIX (Radio station : Fort Collins, Colo.); Harmon, Jim; Stone, J. J.; Brown, Charley
    Date:1976-08-03
    Broadcast segments from the third day after the Big Thompson flood. Notes from reel's box: "1. Jim Steverson - weather, 2. J.J. Stone at evac center Loveland with Dorothy Kincade, 3. J.J. Stone with Sonny Steigert US75 at ...
  • KIIX Radio, reel 8 

    Author(s):KIIX (Radio station : Fort Collins, Colo.); Harmon, Jim; Cox, Brock; Steverson, Jim
    Date:1976-08-03
    Broadcast segments from the third day after the Big Thompson flood. Notes from reel's box: "1. Jim Steverson - weather, 2. rerun - Monday night of helicopter evacuation with J.J. Stone, 3. Capt Freeman at Helipad, 4. C. ...
  • KIIX Radio, reel 7 

    Author(s):KIIX (Radio station : Fort Collins, Colo.); Allen, J. C.; Harmon, Jim; Reed, Lynn
    Date:1976-08-02
    Broadcast segments from the second day after the Big Thompson flood, including survivor list. Notes from reel's box: "1. replay CSP road report, 2. replay Bob Blair, 3. Lynn Reed describes area near Dam Store, 4. Sheriff ...
  • KIIX Radio, reel 6 

    Author(s):KIIX (Radio station : Fort Collins, Colo.); Harmon, Jim; Steverson, Jim; Brown, Charley
    Date:1976-08-02
    Broadcast segments from the second day after the Big Thompson flood. Notes from reel's box: "1. C. Brown, live 2 way report, 2. AP Radio 11 AM news, 3. Bob Branton interview, 4. C. Brown in Loveland, 5. Bob Blair - Fed Dis ...
  • KIIX Radio, reel 5 

    Author(s):KIIX (Radio station : Fort Collins, Colo.); Haskell, Stu; Harmon, Jim; Steverson, Jim
    Date:1976-08-02
    Broadcast segments from the second day after the Big Thompson flood, including reports of response efforts. Notes from reel's box: "1. Lyle Butler report on Co Commission meeting, 2. Interview with Jim Steverson (weather), ...
  • KIIX Radio, reel 4 

    Author(s):KIIX (Radio station : Fort Collins, Colo.); Stone, J. J.; Harmon, Jim; Brown, Charley
    Date:1976-08-02
    Broadcast segments from the second day after the Big Thompson flood, including reports of response efforts, survivor names, and casualty names. Notes from reel's box: "1. phone to Ed Nesselroad (Jim Johnson's office), 2. ...
  • People, Places, and Issues 

    Author(s):KCSU (Radio station : Fort Collins, Colo.); Keeton, Tom; Watson, Robert; Schrader, Delmar
    Date:1976-1977
    Set of 6 reels containing recordings of 3 episodes of People, Places, and Issues, a radio show on KCSU FM, concerning the 1976 Big Thompson flood
  • KIIX Radio, reel 3 

    Author(s):KIIX (Radio station : Fort Collins, Colo.); Stone, J. J.; Harmon, Jim; Steverson, Jim
    Date:1976-08-02
    Broadcast segments from the second day after the Big Thompson flood. Notes from reel's box: "1. rerun with John Raybun, 2. Van de Velde live interview via phone, 3. AM News - edited, 4. 7:17 AM Charley Brown in Loveland ...
  • "Tour by advisory committee" 

    Author(s):Olmstead, Roberta
    Date:1976-08-31
    Interviews with canyon residents Roberta Olmstead and Joe Creek (?) about rebuilding after the Big Thompson flood and whether or not they have received monetary aid, and recording of a public meeting on whether or not to ...
  • "Flood stories" 

    Author(s):KCSU (Radio station : Fort Collins, Colo.); Keeton, Tom; Thompson, Dan
    Date:1976-08
    Interviews with flood victims, including residents of Drake and rescue volunteer Dan Thompson, by reporter (Tom Keeton of KCSU?). Front of reel's box marked "#8".
  • "P.P.I.": Tom Keeton's flood report 

    Author(s):KCSU (Radio station : Fort Collins, Colo.); Keeton, Tom
    Date:1976
    People, Places, and Issues, KCSU FM, Tom Keeton's report of his experiences in the July 31, 1976, Big Thompson flood, interviews with witnesses, and statement from Congressman Jim Johnson's office. Reel marked "8-8 Flood". ...
  • KIIX Radio, reel 2 

    Author(s):KIIX (Radio station : Fort Collins, Colo.); Stone, J. J.; Harmon, Jim; Raybun, John
    Date:1976-08-02
    Broadcast segments from the second day after the Big Thompson flood. Notes from reel's box: "1. interview with John Raybun, 2. live coverage"
  • "Scottsbluff Tapes, by David King" 

    Author(s):KOLT (Radio station : Scottsbluff, Nebr.); King, David
    Date:1976
    Reminiscences of unidentified Big Thompson flood victims. Part of woman's interview repeated at end of recording. Reel came in envelope addressed to David McComb from KOLT Radio in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, dated October 6, 1976.
  • "Sergeant Pat McClosky, Lopez 8/30" 

    Author(s):McClosky, Pat
    Date:1976
    Interview with Sergeant Pat McClosky about state of rescue operations, interview about plans for Drake and Highway 34 after disaster (loud helicopter noise), interview congratulating politicians for not politicizing the ...
  • "Flood interviews" 

    Author(s):KCSU (Radio station : Fort Collins, Colo.); Boson, Brenda; Keeton, Tom
    Date:1976
    KCSU FM broadcasts about temporarily housing flood victims in Colorado State University's Braiden Hall, rebuilding Highway 34, and building removal. Front of reel's box marked "#7"
  • "Flood victim interviews" 

    Author(s):KIIX (Radio station : Fort Collins, Colo.)
    Date:1976
    Interview with survivor about the state of the Big Thompson Canyon and Estes Park by reporter (KIIX?), including how animals were cared for. Announcement that area declared a disaster and eligible for federal assistance. ...
  • "Flood info" 

    Date:1976
    Parts of this recording captured from the radio (KCSU?). Most of recording is statement regarding rebuilding Highway 34. Front of reel's box marked "#6"
  • "Flood interviews made Tuesday" 

    Author(s):KIIX (Radio station : Fort Collins, Colo.)
    Date:1976-08-03
    Interviews with victims and others about the state of the Big Thompson Canyon and Estes Park and assessment of Loveland Hotel emergency center supplies by reporter (KIIX?). Front of reel's box marked "#7"
  • "P.P.I.: The Decision to Rebuild US 34 Through the Big Thompson Canyon" 

    Author(s):KCSU (Radio station : Fort Collins, Colo.); Keeton, Tom
    Date:1976-09-05
    People, Places, and Issues, KCSU FM. Tom Keeton summarizing and presenting various opinions on reconstruction of US Highway 34 through the Big Thompson Canyon and its ecological impacts as well as the final decision to ...

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