Cedar Rapids Flood – Running Tour 15 Months Later

More of a personal/fun/somber post… I’m in Cedar Rapids today and will be in Iowa City Sunday and Monday. Remember the 2008 flood that wiped out so much of Cedar Rapids? There’s a very informative Cedar Rapids flood driving tour to view the damage and rebuild.

This sounded like a good idea but I wanted to run it and learn more about the flood. The hotel shuttle driver was very kind and dropped me off at Ellis Blvd by the Cedar River northwest of downtown. From there, I felt somber and lucky. Here’s what the Cedar River looks like today.

Cedar River on a Normal Day

Cedar River on a Normal Day

I didn’t see the Time Check House at Point A, but a couple minutes into the run this house was in front of me – 15 months after the flood.

Gutted Out Home

Gutted Out Home

After a block of these homes, there was one that was completely redone.

Rebuilt Home

Rebuilt Home

Point B on the list was the Boys & Girls Club. The building still stands, but is considered close to a total loss with original three feet of water into the 2nd floor.

Cedar Rapids Boys & Girls Club

Cedar Rapids Boys & Girls Club

Just a block away are some still-abandoned homes.

More Boarded up Homes

More Boarded up Homes

Point C is the Mother Mosque. It had 10 feet of floodwater, lost a ton of items and is now fully restored. This is seven blocks from the Cedar River.

Mother Mosque

Mother Mosque

Here is one of many porta-potties that unfortunately still stand on corners.

Porta Potties

Porta Potties

Point D is an old-fashioned A&W drive in which is still gutted. Just down the street, there were kids playing ball.

Gutted A&W on Ellis Blvd

Gutted A&W on Ellis Blvd

A couple blocks away, this house was just totally destroyed.

Demolished Home

Demolished Home

Next door? Two abandoned homes.

More Abandoned Homes

More Abandoned Homes

Point E was the Diamond V. Mills manufacturing plant. They’re very close to the river and somehow got to be up and running in a little over a week.

Diamond V. Mills

Diamond V. Mills

Point F wasn’t far from there. It’s the Cedar Rapids Central fire station. 12 feet of water went through and a ton of equipment, files and supplies were lost.

Central Fire Station

Central Fire Station

Before the next point, I ran across the 1st Avenue bridge where a local was fishing. He stopped me and asked if I had any cigarettes. Although I do like to multitask, smoking and running are not things I choose to do simultaneously. I did ask him how high the river rose last year and he said it rose to right about the bottom of this picture.

Flood Crest

Flood Crest

Point G is visible in the above image. It’s the Veterans Memorial Coliseum/Cedar Rapids City Hall. Most of their damage was in the basement.

Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Point H is the Paramount Theatre downtown. Flood waters reached eight feet and I don’t know the current status.

Paramount Theater Cedar Rapids

Paramount Theater Cedar Rapids

Point I is Sokol Hall and from what I understand is an niche extension of the University of Iowa. I could be way wrong on this. Nonetheless, boarded up hall 15 months after the flood.

Sokol Hall

Sokol Hall

A jewelry store has a graffiti message on their boarded up business downtown. It shows how much commitment Cedar Rapids folks have.

Bent Not Broken

Bent Not Broken

Back to the hotel. Turns out it’s connected to the US Cellular Center, which would be awesome if there was an event there I wanted to see. No such luck. To age myself, I have been to a concert there before. Cheap Trick and Ratt back around 1987.

US Cellular Center

US Cellular Center

Overall, I’m humbled by this. These pictures don’t really show the damage this flood has done as 90% of my run was completely underwater 15 months ago. One thing is for sure, the folks in Cedar Rapids don’t give up. It’s still a great city, second in population to Des Moines.

Tomorrow morning I hope to run the remaining points J though Q. We’ll see as it’s quite a jaunt. I’m in Iowa City at 10:45am for my nephew’s baptism so timing will be a crunch.

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2 Responses to Cedar Rapids Flood – Running Tour 15 Months Later

  1. […] Tour 15 Months Later – Day 2 Yesterday, I arrived in Cedar Rapids and decided to run a first leg of the Cedar Rapids flood driving tour and made it from Point A-I. Early this morning, I got up to […]

  2. mike says:

    The stories of strength and perseverance that have come out are a true inspiration.
    Don’s story is heartwarming to say the least, as he talks about his family’s experience in the flooding and how they came out of it w/ a renewed sense of what’s really important in life.
    I hope you find his story as inspiring as I do. Thanks.
    http://www.ahamoment.com/vote/don

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