Utah historian uncovers artifacts from 1983 floods

May 29, 2023, 10:11 PM | Updated: May 30, 2023, 10:49 am

SALT LAKE CITY — Monday marked the 40th anniversary of a significant event in Utah.

On May 29, 1983, over 5,000 Utahns helped fill and line State Street to 400 South with a wall of sandbags. More than 200,000 sandbags were used for weeks.

Beau James Burgess is a museum curator for the state of Utah. He found multiple artifacts from the historic event at a flea market.

“These items popped up in the bottom of a box, and the person says, ‘Oh yeah, the floods of ’83! I got those somewhere years and years ago, and those sat in a storage shed for years, and I’m just clearing stuff out. Here you go,'” he recalled.

Burgess’ collection consists of a copy of the Salt Lake Tribune’s “Spirit of Survival Utah Floods 1983” book, commemorative sandbag keychains and bottled floodwater from that year.

“I was looking and feeling and listening to water sloshing around that’s been on this earth a little bit longer than I have,” Burgess said.

He works at Fort Douglas Military Museum and said several volunteers he works with used the footbridges over the State Street River during the 1983 flood.

“As soon as the water started to flow down State Street, it was instantaneous. The bridges weren’t there, then they were there. It was kind of amazing,” said Patrick Thomas. He worked for Northwest Pipeline at the time.

“Originally, it was fun. This is cool, I’m crossing a bridge to go to lunch. Then it got old,” Thomas said.

He said it’s neat that his friend has commemorative items that date back then.

“It’s one thing to experience history yourself from your perspective, but if you weren’t there, then you rely on things like this,” Burgess expressed.

KSL 5 TV Live

Utah's Flood Watch

Officials urge people to stay away from high-running waters, and to implement systems to avoid floo...

Shelby Lofton

Safety and flood warnings near rivers, reservoirs hit capacity

Heavy snow two years in a row left reservoirs filled to the brim. Now, high temperatures are making rivers more active than usual. Here is how you can keep your home and family safe this summer.

9 days ago

Rising temperatures have caused minor flooding from the Weber River, effecting two RV parks. (Andre...

Andrew Adams

Minor flooding expected in areas along Weber River in Summit County this week

Areas of two RV parks and acres of farmland were flooded Tuesday as the Weber River swelled with runoff waters. Water managers said they anticipated the potential for more minor flooding through the week with hot temperatures finally arriving.

18 days ago

Lower Bell Canyon Reservoir is sitting at capacity with a 12-foot depth in its deepest spots this M...

Andrew Adams

Sandy eyes forecast with runoff expected to increase

Eyes were on the forecast Thursday with a key reservoir sitting at capacity, and runoff waters expected to increase in the weeks to come.

1 month ago

Water levels in Weber County are high and officials are staying on alert. This past weekend, the sh...

Shelby Lofton

‘Things could change real quick for us:’ Weber County avoids weekend flooding, officials on alert

Water levels in Weber County are high and officials are staying on alert. This past weekend, the sheriff's office warned people to avoid streams and rivers due to rising waters, but no flooding took place.

2 months ago

Ogden River near flooding levels (Courtesy: Weber County Sheriff's Department)...

Carlysle Price

Weber County warned about potential flooding

Officials with the Ogden City Fire Department and Weber County Sheriff's Office are warning people to avoid streams and rivers in Weber County, as they are expected to run faster and fuller in correlation with spring's rising temperatures.

2 months ago

The Willard Spillway sending water to the Great Salt Lake....

Mike Anderson and Michael Houck, KSL TV

Large amounts of water sent to Great Salt Lake ahead of spring runoff

While Utah did not have a record water year this year, water managers say there is so much water that some is being sent into the Great Salt Lake.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Utah historian uncovers artifacts from 1983 floods