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On Sunday, January 15, 1950, the Wabash River flood that had dominated life in Vincennes since the beginning of the year reached a critical stage. Early forecasts called for a 28-foot ridge at Vincennes. These forecasts were then revised downwards when levees breached upstream. Heavy rains over the Wabash Valley sent water levels higher again that Sunday, creating a desperate situation.

Members of the National Guard, the Vincennes Street Department, ordinary citizens and Vincennes High School boys sandbagged. Soldiers from Fort Knox, Kentucky, were building mud boxes atop a flood wall expected to withstand a 28-foot crest. If the wall did not hold, large parts of the city would be flooded.

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