Cedar Rapids, IA
In 2008, Cedar Rapids experienced the worst flooding of its then 159 year history. 1,126 city blocks of the second largest city in Iowa- more than 10 square miles. 5,900 homes were evacuated- 1,300 of which had to be demolished. Local government buildings were also inundated, including the distinguished Cedar Rapids City Hall which resides on an island in the middle of the Cedar River.
Aside from the sheer devastation of the rising waters, public utilities quickly became disrupted as well. Citizens of the city were without electricity, gas, and telephone service for nearly three weeks in some parts of the city. Local industries and factories, including Cargill, Pepsico and Quaker Oats lost millions in profit due to the shutdowns of the plants themselves, and the railroads that feed the raw materials to the plants. Nearly 7000 employees, throughout the city, became jobless.
The 2008 flood had a devastating cultural impact as well. The Czech Village, on the cities southeast side where most of these pictures were taken, was ravished by the flood. Significant damage was done to the historic National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library with priceless artifacts and museum pieces being destroyed.
Today, Cedar Rapids is still recovering from the impact of the 2008 flood. Much of downtown has been rebuilt, and refurbished. Other areas were not so lucky. Parts of the city that were once home to thriving neighborhoods, now resemble nothing but grassy fields criss-crossed with the remnants of driveways and sidewalks. Condemned homes and buisnesses still line the busy streets of Cedar Rapids- many more than the small amount that I have photographed. Boarded up windows, crooked foundations, and even water lines, still tell the story of a city recently shaken by Mother Nature’s wrath.
^ "Flood of 2008 Facts & Statistics". City of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Retrieved 2011-06-17.
^ Carly Weber, “6,000-7000 job losses estimated”, Cedar Rapids Gazette, June 19, 2008, p. 2A
^ National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library website, Retrieved June 20, 2008