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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Grand Rapids in Kent County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Great Flood of 1904

 
 
Great Flood of 1904 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 27, 2017
1. Great Flood of 1904 Marker
Inscription.  The Grand River’s greatest rampage came on March 24, 1904, when waters rose to 20.4 feet, more than seven feet above flood stage.

Warm days and heavy rains had melted winter snow, and ice breaking up in the river created a dam at the Grand Trunk Railroad Bridge. The river rose, flooding more than half the city’s west side, where over 2,500 houses and 14,000 people were affected. Damage on the east side was limited to the flooding of basements in several factories and hundreds of businesses.

In the hours and days that followed, rescuers rowed boats through west side streets to reach stranded flood victims. Nearly 8,000 people were temporarily out of work as over 50 factories were forced to shut down. There was no power, water, or heat, sewers filled and clogged, raising fears of typhoid and malaria. Total monetary loss was estimated at close to $2 million. Although the cold, hunger, and exposure caused great suffering, no deaths occurred.

To prevent future disasters, city officials redesigned storm sewers and began building flood walls and earthen embankments. These steps marked the beginning of many improvements along the
Marker detail: Rescue Boats on Bridge Street image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Rescue Boats on Bridge Street
Grand River.
 
Erected 1988 by The Junior League of Grand Rapids.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: DisastersWaterways & Vessels.
 
Location. 42° 58.22′ N, 85° 40.561′ W. Marker is in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in Kent County. Marker can be reached from Bridge Street Northwest (Michigan Street NW) 0.1 miles east of Scribner Avenue Northwest, on the right when traveling east. Marker is located along the Riverwalk in Ah Nab Awen Park, on the east side of the Gerald R. Ford Museum. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 290 Michigan Street Northwest, Grand Rapids MI 49504, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Final Resting Place of Gerald R. Ford (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Grand River (about 500 feet away); Gerald R. Ford (approx. 0.2 miles away); Grand River Bridges (approx. 0.2 miles away); Log Jam of 1883 (approx. ¼ mile away); Kent County Civil War Monument & Fountain (approx. 0.6 miles away); Grand Rapids Veterans Memorial and Honor Roll (approx. 0.7 miles away); First (Park) Congregational Church (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Grand Rapids.
 
Also see . . .
1. Curator Galleries: The Great Flood of 1904. These photographs were taken
Great Flood of 1904 Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, July 27, 2017
3. Great Flood of 1904 Marker
(Bridge Street Northwest/Michigan Street NW in background)
during the flood and show the various innundated areas of the city. (Submitted on July 21, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Great Flood of 1904 revisited: The Grand River has a long history of overflowing its banks. The city began building floodwalls along a dock line established along the riverbanks and by 1911, the first floodwalls built along the Grand River were on 12-foot concrete bases. More walls were built in 1927, 1934 and 1936. In 2003, the city completed work on a $13.5 million project to rebuild the city's floodwalls and embankments at one foot above the 100-year flood mark set in 1904. (Submitted on July 21, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

3. The Flood in Grand Rapids. The accompanying photographic views illustrate the greatest and most destructive flood ever experienced in Grand Rapids. The Grand River began to overflow its banks on Thursday night, March 24th, steadily rising until 6 o'clock on the morning of Monday, the 28th, when it registered 19.6 feet, more than two feet above the highest previous mark. (Submitted on July 21, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 21, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 66 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on July 21, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Feb. 28, 2021