The last 1.32 inches of rain that fell in two hours on Thursday, July 8, 1993 helped put 1993 into local history record books. It was the year the Mississippi River once again rose to challenge – and then pass – the flood crest of 1965.* The flood of 1965 stood in first place for 28 years when the crest reached 22.48 feet on April 28th of that year.
That record fell on July 9, 1993 when the Mississippi River at Lock and Dam 15 crested at 22.63 feet.
2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the June/July flood of 1993 (which still stands in first place as of this blog for historic crests at Lock and Dam 15). We thought we would take a moment to look through not only photos of the flood, but the aftermath as well.
We tried to select photos of local landmarks that may be familiar to local readers. We would like to thank the Davenport Police Historic Association for the use of aerial photographs taken by the Davenport Police Department during the flood.
Photo courtesy of the Davenport Police Historic Association. The building in the middle of the aerial photo was The Dock Restaurant (now demolished). The bottom of the photo is the river bed. From The Dock to the upper portion of the photo should be land including railroad tracks and River Drive..
Collection 2008-28 – Box 53 Image 327. The image shows The Dock Restaurant building in the middle of the image. The President Casino to the right and the roller dam between Davenport and the Rock Island Arsenal to the left. River Drive and railroad tracks are covered with water.
Collection 2008-28 – Box 53 Image 353. Flooded streets facing the President Casino landing. TV crews, police cars, and emergency boats were typical vehicles found at flooded intersections.
Collection 2008-28 – Box 53 Image 348. Union Station at Harrison Street and River Drive was protected by sandbags. While it held much of the flood waters back. Some water did get into the first floor causing minor damage.
Photo Courtesy of the Davenport Police Historic Association. Aerial view showing west Davenport. The Centennial Bridge (now the Talbot Memorial Bridge) would be to the right of this photo.
Collection 2008-28 – Box 53 Image 342. Another perspective. Photo taken from Centennial Bridge (now Talbot Memorial Bridge) facing west Davenport. Oscar Mayer factory is in the upper right section of image.
Collection 2008-28 – Box 53 Image 338. Photo taken from Centennial Bridge (now Talbot Memorial Bridge) facing west Davenport. Tree line on right of photo indicates where land starts. River flows normally on the left of the photo.
Photo courtesy of the Davenport Police Historic Association. Aerial view of LeClaire Park, W.D. Petersen Memorial Music Pavilion (also referred to as the LeClaire Bandshell) and the John O’Donnell (now Modern Woodmen Park) baseball stadium. The river flows normally on the left hand of the picture. The tree line indicates where land starts. Water is covering River Drive and railroad tracks. Also the seating in front of the Bandshell is covered.
Collection 2008-28 – Box 54 Image 415. LeClaire Park after the flood. City trucks had snow plows placed on them to push the mud off roads.
Collection 2008-28 – Box 54 Image 41. LeClaire Park levee wall damage from the flood.
Collection 2008-28 – Box 55 Image 511. LeClaire Park after the flood. Mud completely covers sidewalks and grass.
Collection 2008-28 – Box 55 Image 508. Seating in front of the LeClaire Bandshell after the flood. Layers of mud had to be removed.
Collection 2008-28 – Box 55 Image 498. The Davenport Fire Department helped hose down streets to remove mud and debris left by the flood.
Collection 2008-28 – Box 52 Image 357. John O’Donnell Stadium (now Modern Woodmen Park) was the iconic image of the flood. Water inside the ball field reached seven feet.
Collection 2008-28 – Box 54 Image 433. Benches outside the baseball stadium after the flood. Notice one bench is missing a section of seating and bent at an angle.
Collection 2008-28 – Box 54 Image 436. Inside the baseball stadium after flood waters receded. No games were played on the field until the following season.
Collection 2008-28 – Box 54 Image 435. Analyzing the condition of the field. Besides the mud and debris, clean up crews dealt with the stench of river water and rotting fish in the August heat.
As we note the 25th anniversary of the flood of 1993, we hope that we continue to commemorate it for years to come. No one wants to think of a flood that might top it.
Please visit our previous blogs that reference the flood of 1993.
*The short version of the flood of 1993 is heavy rains in the north filtered into the Mississippi River. Just as the water levels began to rise in the Quad Cities from the northern floods; rain began to fall locally. June of 1993 is still ranked as the wettest June in records kept by the National Weather Service. Every night it seemed to rain and the river level continued to rise until the crest on July 9th.
(posted by Amy D.)