MORE: Gays Mills residents reflect on history of flooding - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

MORE: Gays Mills residents reflect on history of flooding

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GAYS MILLS, Wis. (WXOW) - -

The small town of Gays Mills, Wisconsin saw upwards of 17 inches of rain during the flash flood of 2007. Many residents, evacuated from their homes by boat and taken to higher ground. Marjie Jurgensen is one of those residents.

Deluge In The Dark: The flash floods of Gays Mills

"I have the highest lawn in the downtown area, so my neighbors were calling and asking if they could put their cars on my lawn," she said. "So when all was said and done, I had about 10 cars on my front lawn."

Because she has the highest lot in the area, she said she rarely sees seepage into her basement during times of high water. 2007, though, proved different.

"I had three and a half feet of water standing in my basement," she said. "That's all seepage that came through my rock walls which are two feet thick."

As a result, she was evacuated by the fire department, stepping foot off her front porch and onto a boat.  But the flood of 2007 isn't the first Jurgensen has survived.

"In 1978 it was kind of two floods," she said. "We had high water and it went down and then a couple days later it came back and was much higher. But people had time to prepare for that one, unlike what we saw in 2007."

Jurgensen, who worked for the local newspaper during that time, saved dozens of newspaper clippings of the 1978 flood in Gays Mills.

"That was a bad one, and the one before that was in 1951," she said. She was only 12 years old in 1951, but remembers the flood that year vividly.

"Dad took us in a car and we drove to Soldiers Grove and saw the water rushing through the downtown area, which is now a big park."

Larry McCarn was serving as village president in 2007 when the town suffered catastrophic flood damage. Following more flooding in 2008, McCarn, along with numerous other town members, began thinking of a long term plan for Gays Mills.

"People don't like change, so there are still some people who aren't happy with where we've moved some of the town," he said. "But people are safer and dry and that's what matters."

Amazingly, there were no fatalities during the flash flood of 2007 in Gays Mills. 

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