The biggest problem we’ve had to deal with so far was the feeling of utter exhaustion and helplessness as you see places you’ve been in, dealt with, and driven by your entire life are unwater and ruined. The water seems to have gone down about 5 feet on the Ely Road judging by the brown kill of the trees and bushes, but is still near the bottom of the road grade in spots (that is horizontally, not vertically). Two roads I drive by had water over them yet and one of them (one that a bunch a tax money had gone into making flood proof) was still near the roof of the shed along it.
Here are some reports I have picked up:
This is the State Library of Iowa report on libraries that were damaged.
I wanted especially to promote where you can donate if you’d like to help these devastated institutions get back on their feet.
Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation
500 First Street Southeast
Cedar Rapids, IA. 52401
Friends of New Hartford Public Library
P O Box 292
New Hartford, IA. 50660
National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library
30 Sixteenth Avenue Southwest
Cedar Rapids, IA. 52401-5904
Some of the things I had hoped were beyond the water still sustained damage. Some of these things are my words, some snippets are from other sources.
The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art suffered over $250,000 worth of damage and the water didn’t really get any further than the basement, most of the art, including the Grant Wood and Marvin Cone pieces were moved upstairs. They hope to get the first floor open again by Labor Day, the Grant Wood studio (in its original location and only restored in the last couple of years) by mid-July, but the second floor where the entire collection is now stored will take longer to get back to public viewing space.
The University of Iowa arts campus is still having trouble with water and classes have been moved. At least Clapp and the Voxman Musuic building will be closed in the fall. This is an area that floods to some extent almost every year and yet the University keeps building there. It was considerably higher this year than normal.
The Paramount had been recently renovated again. Most of the furniture had been moved to the second floor. The theater’s front doors were knocked over by the force of floodwaters. The Mighty Wurlitzer pipe organ, installed when the theater opened in 1928, was tipped over and in pieces. It will have to be rebuilt or replaced. These organs haven’t been built since 1932.
Ushers Ferry reports that water came up to the roof of the hotel’s porch, rose about 4 feet inside the shoolhouse and came up to the new Visitors Center, but not inside. On a side note I was in the school taking a last few photos for my school lunch program the Monday before the flood. 4 feet would have basically wipe out most of the school collection. I doubt much was removed because they were thinking a shallow surround of this level of buildings (as the village climbs the hill). There was water in all but about 3 of the 30 buildings in the village. The log cabin was washed downstream and the Grandfather’s barn was knocked off its foundation. Many artifacts were removed from the lower end of the village where flooding was expected. They are still debating whether anything will be rebuilt there or not. Although there are some positive signs that they are not giving up on it yet.
The following message is a little over a week old, but I think a good damage report.
“First, I want to thank everyone for your prayers and concern about the African American Museum of Iowa. The Museum has taken a tremendous hit from the flooding on the Cedar River in downtown Cedar Rapids. The Museum took every precaution it could to safeguard its collection, and as a result, a number of historic treasures have been saved. The Museum has implemented its disaster plan, and will continue to implement the plan as events unfold.
Second, I ask that at this time you please do not attempt to call the Museum. The Museum has lost telephone service and electricity. We have cancelled events through next Thursday, including the Museum’s Legacy Golf Classic. We are hoping to have our annual Juneteenth Celebration–more word will follow. Please do not attempt to visit the Museum or view the flood damage–it is just not possible or safe.
Third, please remember that a Museum is more than a building. The Museum has built an incredible community of friends throughout the state of Iowa, and we will continue to work to preserve and promote the African American heritage of our state. If you would like to support our clean-up efforts–it is impossible at this time to know how much will be needed, but we know we will need tremendous support–please visit our website, www.blackiowa.org to make an online donation. We appreciate all of you and we want you to know that we will continue to accomplish our mission–no disaster can dampen our passion to preserve our past to enlighten our future.”
Find a list of all businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits damaged here:
What have we learned?
-Move stuff out don’t just sandbag.
-Make copies of things and share with relatives so no single copies of family photos, etc. will be lost.
-Don’t rent bank boxes below ground level. Some of the banks around here (including at least one flooded out) say contents are not insured on their safety deposit leases. Double check yours now.