Residents Near Fort Gibson Lake Cleaning Up After Flooding

Wednesday, June 5th 2019, 8:24 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

People living and working below the Fort Gibson dam are left with nothing but an empty plot of land.

Flood waters destroyed not only their homes but their businesses too. The people who owned businesses and homes say the water shooting out of the dam was so powerful, it ripped away the buildings and swept them into the current.

 Tambra Blackwell can only look back on memories at her home and bar, once nestled next to the Fort Gibson Dam on Highway 80.

"Everyone loves us. We're a hometown country bar and all the bikers love to come here,” Blackwell said.

She and her husband owned the Dam Bar for three years. They had big plans: open a convenience store, debut their new cabins, an eventually even open a restaurant.

Then, it started raining.

"We watched it come up eight inches every hour. I think we decided it was coming up too fast,” she said.

The powerful current ripped the bar, and home next door into the water. Now, they're burning scraps leftover from the buildings as they start from scratch.

"We lost not just our home, but our business also."

When the water started Blackwell says several friends and customers showed up to help clear the lot.

“Those are patrons and customers,” she said.

The only thing high enough to miss the floods were some cabins she was getting ready to open in May. The hope of opening those gives her motivation to rebuild her bar and home.

"Next time we're building up,” she said.

The flooding also destroyed two shops and homes next to Blackwell's bar. She hopes to reopen in time for a Labor Day celebration in September.