Today we may think nothing of driving over a bridge. One hundred and fifty years ago, it wasn’t so easy. Some of the first bridges across the Platte were made of sod.

The third day of February dawned normally for Brice Krohn, senior director at the Crane Trust. The conservation group started burning a few tree piles on their property near Alda, Neb., along the central Platte River. But it wasn’t long before he and his staff noticed the water around in the channels around their property rising.