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The saga of 'Lil Yellow'

Red Lodge house survives floods, becomes a symbol of town resilience
Posted at 7:48 AM, Apr 14, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-14 12:37:05-04

RED LODGE - A house in Red Lodge became famous after it was seen teetering over the edge of Rock Creek during last summer's historic flooding.

Today, the house is a survivor standing as a sign of resilience.

It's even the main character in a new children's book.

"Once upon a time in a charming little town near some really big mountains stood a cute yellow house," author and owner of the house Sarah Higgins said while reading from her new book, "Lil Yellow."


Higgens is an architect and writer who shares her 1920s miner's home on 9th Street with the world via Airbnb. She recalls the days of the floods when her little home became the focus of news reports.

"Part of my house was falling in," she said. "It was appearing on all sorts of newscasts because it was just dangling. I just kept thinking, 'Oh girl, just hang in there,' and she did."

Lil Yellow is one tough little house and still stands despite last June's 500-year flood. The flood waters eroded the lawn, washed away a hot tub and even cracked the floor.

"'Why are you under my porch?' Lil Yellow asked the creek. 'Because I have nowhere else to go,' the creek said sadly. 'The bridge fell down and I can't get around it. All the melting snow is pushing me so I have to go really fast,'" Higgens read from the book.

It's a story of comradery too good not to tell and one that has a few notable supporting characters.

"When Lil Yellow woke up the next morning there was a nice lady from the governor's office looking at her with tears in her eyes. 'I’m going to make sure your town has help so they can fix the bridge and save Lil Yellow.'"

All the townspeople pitched in to save Lil Yellow. In fact, the mayor was among the first to stack sandbags.

"This house is a survivor," said Mayor Kristen Cogswell. "And I think the people of Red Lodge are survivors, and they are trying with all their might so that their homes survive."

In a showing of solidarity in the midst of the devastating flood aftermath the town moved forward with its 4th of July rodeo and parade.

"Suddenly she saw a parade coming down the street," Higgens reads. "Lil Yellow loved parades. The parade went around her in a circle and everyone started cheering, 'Hip Hip Hooray! Hip Hip Hooray!'"

Come hell or high water, Red Lodge rebuilt.

"The mayor of the town walked up to Lil Yellow and gave her a friendly pat," reads Higgens. "She said, 'Lil Yellow, I’m so proud of you. When the creek said roar you didn’t move. When the creek started to gobble up your grass you didn’t move.'"

"This house is such a character, even before the book, because it's one of our historic structures," said Cogswell. "This is the first story that I've seen that is a very nice story beyond the flood and it's about the house."

"We all love you and are so happy you didn’t fall down and then the whole town yelled you are 100 years old and nothing will ever make you leave. THE END."

You can find Lil Yellow on Amazon for $12.99.