In the time of little rainfall during the 1930s, Gallatin suffered a great water shortage which was the first one since 1901. A ban had been put on watering yards and gardens, and no water could be taken out of town and used elsewhere.

For the month of June, water usage was in the highest demand it had ever been. A large portion of the usage was due to the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp which used almost one-third of this total. Many city wells had gone dry and the city had filled many of them for its patrons.

At that time, the old city well didn’t furnish much water, but samples had been sent to Jefferson City for a state examination as to its purity. The new well was putting out 230 gallons of water per minute which was barely enough. There was no water pressure in the mains over town and the thought of having a fire with little water pressure was of great concern.

As far as the rural areas were concerned, the pasture and the crops were an additional concern. The corn crop was the best seen for years, but burned at the top and the bottom long before harvest. Corn in the Grand River bottom still had possibilities, but the yield was expected to be extremely low.

There had been so little grass, the farmers cut down trees in order to have foliage for their horses and their cattle. The hay crop was off 75%, and it was predicted there would only be a 10% oat crop and a 50% wheat crop.

In other parts of the country, wheat and barley were barely worth harvesting and some of it wasn’t to be harvested at all.

— researched and presented by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin, MO