Photos & update tell of flood damage in Iowa

Folks across Iowa continue to suffer from the storms and flooding of a few weeks ago, at a scale incomprehendible to us outsiders. Cedar Rapids alone had 1,300 city blocks under water! J.R. Manning sent links to photos that Iowa DOT took at the time, many showing US 30 where it is either atop or near the Lincoln Highway. Above and below are a few or click here for the complete galleries. Here’s an update on current conditions from Van & Bev Becker:

The Cedar River cuts through the center of Cedar Rapids with the government buildings on an island in the center of town. The 1st Ave Bridge ( 1913-1916 route of the LH) was totally under water including the railings. The 2nd Ave Bridge (1916-1928 route of the LH) was also totally under water including the railings. At the flood peak, ALL bridges in Cedar Rapids, including I-380, were closed. One railroad bridge, loaded with freight cars, washed away. The city government and county government offices are now scattered all around town. Today, all bridges are again open to normal traffic. There are huge piles of flooded and damaged carpet, desks, furniture, files, food, coolers, etc lining the downtown streets and lower neighborhoods.

How did the Lincoln Highway sites and landmarks fare? Quite well thank you.
• The beautiful Coe College campus where we held our natl LHA conference 2 years ago (2006) escaped any flood damage.
• The 1st and 2nd Ave Bridges over the river are back to normal use.
• The huge Grant Wood stain glass window, in the Veteran’s Memorial Building – north side of the 2nd Ave bridge – shows a few cracks and a bit of bowing. This historic treasure can be repaired.
• The Maid Rite (loose meat sandwitches) on 1st Ave West – 6 and a half blocks from the river – was under water to the ceiling. Everything inside is a loss. It is too soon to know if this small business will survive.
• The 1927 Roosevelt Hotel on 1st Ave and 2nd Street is still closed, no power yet. Water filled the basement and first floor.
• The Quaker Oats production facilities (largest cereal mill in the world ) will be closed for a few months. They had water up to the second flood in places. The surrounding railroad tracks and lack of power will be a problen for too but they will reopen.
• There were no LH markers (other than painted telephone poles) affected.
• There were no LH kiosks affected.
• There were no LH road signs affected.
• The Iowa LHA chapter is still going ahead with our 3-day motor tour (Aug 8-9-10) crossing the state with the first overnite stop in Cedar Rapids.
• Highway 30, I-80 and the mainline of the Union Pacific Railroad are all reopened and flowing as normal.

It will be 5-10 years before the city fully recovers from a 500-year flood. We are working hard and fast – by the end of the summer a quick casual tourist may never spot evidence of the flood.

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