Flood News Roundup

Historic Properties Across Iowa Affected by June Flooding

Posted by CC on June 29th, 2008 10:24 am

With so many historic properties affected by Iowa’s flooding, the Communications Committee decided to give a quick roundup of the news so far. If you have news about flood-affected historic properties in your area, send it to news@iowapreservation.org.

Charles City Suspension Bridge – A 1906 pedestrian bridge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was swept into the Cedar River on June 8. Portions of the bridge are still in the river, and are being removed carefully to see if the bridge can be rebuilt. Additional info online at the Charles City Press.

Sutliff Bridge – This 1898 bridge near Solon, also listed on the National Register, lost its easternmost span on June 13. The span has been found downstream, so perhaps it can be rebuilt. Additional info online at The Sun.

Wapsipinicon Mill – The Wapsi Mill sustained damage from spring flooding in early May, and again was hit with high waters in June. The lower floor, built to float with high water, has sustained significant damage. Additional info online at the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier.

Sullivan and Wright-designed buildings – Metropolis, a contemporary design magazine, reported on historic buildings designed by Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright affected by flooding. Sullivan designed the Peoples Savings Bank in Cedar Rapids. The Alvin Miller House in Charles City was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Both buildings have also been widely discussed online at www.savewright.org. The extent of their damage is still unknown.

Historic Buildings and Neighborhoods in Cedar Rapids – Cedar Rapids is one of the hardest hit communities during the June flooding. Historic buildings throughout downtown, on Mays Island, and in historic neighborhoods along the river have been severely damaged. The most recent information can be found online at the Gazette.

Historic depots in Fort Madison – Two historic depots in Fort Madison were affected by flooding. Despite valiant efforts to sandbag the Santa Fe Depot (home to the Lee County Historical Society), water got into the museum. The Fort Madison Area Arts Association was able to evacuate the nearby Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad Passenger Depot before the flooding began.

Historic properties in Burlington – According to a report by Steve Frevert, Executive Director of Burlington’s Downtown Partners: “Two National Register properties – the 1944 CB&Q depot and the 1896 Burlington, Cedar Rapids, & Northern freight house (now Big Muddy’s restaurant) were directly affected by recent flooding. The depot had water about a foot deep, and Big Muddy’s took on four or more feet of water. The former Hotel Burlington (now the Burlington Apartments), also on the NRHP, was evacuated due to water in the basement jeopardizing the electric service. Two other riverfront properties, the WPA-built Memorial Auditorium and the 1928 Port of Burlington welcome center, also sustained significant flood damage.”

Additional news on the flooding in the Midwest can be found online at the websites of the Heritage Emergency National Task Force, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the State Historical Society of Iowa. Keep an eye on the IHPA website and the next Iowa Preservationist for flood updates.