The one thing which above all others interests the people of Cedar Rapids today is the stage of water in the Cedar. During the day it reached a point higher than has been recorded since 1884. Some idea of the progress of the rise may be had from the following observations, taken by a Gazette reporter from the government gauge at First avenue bridge:
6 p.m. last evening, 9 ft 6 in; 9 p.m., 10 ft 2 in; 2 a.m., 10 ft. 6 in; 4:30, 11 ft 6 in; 6, 11 ft 7 in; 7:30, 11ft 10 inches.
Shortly after 5 o’clock this morning a heavy snow storm commenced and gave promise of making a bad matter worse. Information received from points up the river indicate that if the 10-foot mark was reached the water would begin to recede. All signs fail, however, when they are most needed, and the rise continued steadily as will be seen by the above statement. People residing near the river began in be alarmed last evening, and in some cases moved to higher ground. All the evening the bridges were crowded with people eager and anxious to note every rise of a fraction of an inch and to watch the floating of debris from the old mill at the west end of the B avenue bridge.
Early yesterday afternoon the water began to creep slowly out upon the low land in Time Check, and by 5 o’clock a few of the people living near the river bank had to wade between thrie homes and dry land. Three families living near the C&NW bridge became alarmed for their personal safety and later moved out bag and baggage.
Rapidly the ice houses of the Sinclair company and Cervenka Bros. were surrounded by water and it rose to such a depth that a considerable loss of ice will result. Sidewalks in many portions of Time Check were carried away in the flood, and in many places the streets and roads are covered to such a depth that travel is impossible. Horses and cattle were removed from several barns, in some instances with difficulty.
Slowly but gradually the water undermined the northeast corner of the old paper mill at the west end of the B avenue bridge, and late in the afternoon, a considerable portion of the structure gave away and was precipitated into the flood. It was carried off down stream at the speed of a race horse, to be fished out by parties in boats below the Third avenue bridge. The entire northeast corner of the building dropped to the water’s edge, and through the day has been slowly breaking apart.
That classic addition to the city of Cedar Rapids, known as May’s Island, is only to be seen at all this morning because of the fill made by the city between the two bridges. The balance of the territory is completely under water, in places to the depth of several feet. Residents of the lower end of the island pluckily remained in their homes all night, though completely surrounded by water. In the fruit and second hand stores the basements were flooded, and in the hardware store of Stepanek & Vondracek, across on First street and Third avenue West, the stock kept in the basement had to be moved upstairs or placed on counters high above the floor.