OPINION

Dickson: “I surfed State Street” and other memories of the 1983 floods

Apr 13, 2023, 4:00 PM

The 1983 floods left State Street in downtown Salt Lake looking like a river....

People cross a makeshift bridge over a flooded State Street in Salt Lake City in 1983. (Photo courtesy of Raven Call)

(Photo courtesy of Raven Call)

This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — In this above picture of State Street from the 1983 floods, my apartment was a block up 100 S. to the east. I was a sophomore in college at the University of Utah. I lived in a funky little walkup on the third floor with a bed that pulled out of the wall and no shower. (It was $300 per month, so who’s complaining?)

When the 1983 floods started coming down State Street that year, I walked from my apartment to go see what was going on. I found myself in the middle of a sandbagging line that looked like the image below, but a couple of blocks south. 

Sandbagging line (Tom Smart/Deseret News)

I remember grabbing and passing bags until my arms felt like rubber.

My family was worried

My parents called me from Pennsylvania.

“Are you ok? Are you anywhere near the flooding?” they asked.

I didn’t want to worry them.

“Oh, no. I’m totally safe, Mom. Not to worry.”

I did feel safe, even though the water was cold and fast… and a little scary.

That year, I worked as a waitress at the Western Sizzlin’ Steak House in West Valley. (I think there is a Chinese restaurant in that building now.) When I drove home from work every night, I got off the 600 S. exit of I-15 and drove over the temporary bridge that crossed over State Street. It was surreal to watch the water flow under my car, reminding me of driving over endless canals when I lived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

I surfed State Street!

I used to have a T-shirt that said: “I surfed State Street”. For the life of me, I can’t find that shirt. I thought I had kept it for sentimental reasons, but as with so many of my keepsakes, it disappeared in the 30 moves since then.

I not only remember the flooding, but I remember the aftermath. The cleanup. The smell. The businesses that never recovered. I remember standing on the bridge in that picture above, looking south at the water rushing.

This would have been a prime selfie spot, but we just looked at the water back then and committed the feeling to memory.

Amanda Dickson is the co-host of Utah’s Morning News and A Woman’s View.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Opinion

possible new jazz arena shown in rendering of downtown salt lake...

Jeff Caplan

Jeff Caplan’s Minute of News: How to make a billionaire wealthier

Billionaire and Jazz owner Ryan Smith teased at a possible new arena recently. Will he pay for it, or have the state do it for him?

21 hours ago

"Scrambled" is a good movie you'll want to see just for Leah McKendrick....

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show Review: ‘Scrambled’ actress Leah McKendrick was a joy to watch

Actress Leah McKendrick leaves you wanting more of her after watching "Scrambled". It's a good story about "writing what you know."

26 days ago

"The Promised Land" movie is packed with good storytelling and a fun main character....

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show Review: ‘The Promised Land’ is good storytelling with a side of Mads Mikkelsen

Good storytelling and Mads Mikkelsen make for "Promised Land" being a movie you'll want to see as soon as you can.

27 days ago

holiday shoppers get ready to start spending at city creek mall...

Amanda Dickson

Dickson: All I want for Christmas is to control my holiday spending!

Amanda Dickson wants to start doing a better job of controlling her holiday spending -- putting the emphasis on people rather than stuff.

3 months ago

KSL Movie Show co-host Steve Salles says "Maestro" is a fine picture you won't want to miss....

Steve Salles

KSL Movie Show review: ‘Maestro’ shows a renown composer, flaws and all, exquisitely

Don't miss this movie review of Bradley Cooper's portrayal of Leonard Bernstein. "Maestro" is and exquisite and real must-see picture.

3 months ago

Image of Utah's Morning News host Amanda Dickson and colleague Kate Davis, who says she is grateful...

Amanda Dickson

Dickson: Social media and the importance of the radio community

Unlike social media, radio is one of the few experiences that offers everybody listening the same information at the same time.

3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Dickson: “I surfed State Street” and other memories of the 1983 floods