BILLINGS — Oscar's Park in Billings experienced flooding when the Yellowstone River spilled its banks weeks ago. Now, family and friends are sorting through what is left of the history on the property.
“This hit us hard. We had a lot of family history, but also local history. Just the things that my parents saved,” said Marcie Cooke Lympp Sunday.
Lympp is the daughter of Oscar and Marcella Cooke, the originators of what was then called Oscar's Dreamland. Lympp lives and runs Oscar's Park and is now left with the task of going through four generations of family history that was stored on the land and figuring out what can be saved. Among the items are precious photographs that her father Oscar took.
“All those photos are in here. We are trying to dry them out and save what we can... you don’t replace photos that the gentleman took 100 years ago,” Lympp said.
This isn’t the first time Oscar's Park was flooded. In 1974 when Lympp was 12 years old, major flooding occurred.
“And I was here with my dad that day. And it was horrible. It did basically the same thing it did to us this time… so I've lived through the 100 year and now I've lived through the 500 year and I'm done,” Lympp said.
The wedding venue and all but one of the historic homes at Oscar's Park were unharmed by the flooding. The over 140-year-old first schoolhouse in Yellowstone County, which is on the property, was damaged.
“It needed work anyhow, and was on our next list to fix, but unfortunately the funds that were there for it are no longer because they’re up here now trying to save what we can. So it’s in very very sad shape,” said Lympp.
With the busy upcoming summer, the Lympp’s only had to cancel one event due to the flooding. Lympp said the event was a family reunion and the family were understanding about the circumstances. Even though the family could not attend their event, they set up a GoFundMe page for the park, which can be found on Oscar's Park's Facebook page. The money will be dedicated to restoring the schoolhouse.
As for the future of Oscar's Park, Lympp remains hopeful.
“Just do the same darn thing my dad did. Just rebuild,” she said.