Schoolcraft County
Manistique's Great Flood
March/April 1920
 
 
 
 
 
 
The Waddell Lumber and Supply Company (March 1920) - Photos contributed by Paul Petosky
 
 
  Manistique's great flood began on Sunday, March 28, 1920.  An ice jam on the Driggs River gave way, sending a torrent of water and logs into the Manistique River.  An unusually heavy snowmelt, combined with warmer than normal temperatures and several days of rain had already swollen the river.  The cascading rush of water ruptured an earthen wall and the river soon over-topped  the newly constructed papermill flume, flooding Manistique's west side.  The Waddell Lumber and Supply Company was located in the direct path of the flood waters near the siphon bridge.  The warehouse pictured above was eventually filled with between two to five feet of water.  The foundation was compromised and the warehouse collapsed, as the raging river swept away the lumber that had been stored there.


Postcard from Paul Petosky

 
 
 
Source:  Manistique Pioneer Tribune, April 1, 1920
 
MANISTIQUE SUFFERS WORST
CATASTROPHE IN HISTORY
 
West River Bank Breaks
Result is Flood
 
    "Early Sunday morning a small break in the west wall of the Manistique River, a few hundred feet above the old power house and dam, turned a torrent of water from the main bed of the river into the residential, business and industrial sections of the West Side, inundating homes, sweeping away raw timber and finished lumber, undermining factories and warehouses and causing, in a remarkably short time, losses that are not less than $500,000.  
    
     The section of the city north of Deer Street and west of the Delta Gardens addition was hit first by the flood, mild enough in its early proportions to prevent any alarm among the residents of that district.
 
    As the water gained in height until it was several feet deep on Weston Ave., residents along the street began to move from their homes to places of safety.  By 4:30 Sunday afternoon the flood poured over Deer Street onto property to the South, though at first it was not deep enough to cut off traffic between the East and West sides.
 
    At two o'clock Monday morning the last auto, driven by Mayor Gero, returned from the West Side to the East and since then Deer Street at this point has been a raging torrent."
 

Source:  The Manistique Courier-Record, April, 1920
 
MANISTIQUE INUNDATED BY DESTRUCTIVE FLOOD
DISASTER OVERWHELMS INDUSTRIAL
SECTION OF CITY
DAMAGE TO DATE ESTIMATED AT $1,000,000.
 
    "Bank of river gives way and seventy families rendered homeless as river rushes through residential district - Goodwillie Bros. box factory badly wrecked with loss of 125,000 feet of lumber - Waddell Lumber Company suffers loss with buildings damaged - Traffic over city bridge suspended during entire week - Lower river scene of unmanageable flood with log jams above and below bridge - flume walls withstand stream while bridges remain intact."
 

Source:  Atlantic News Telegraph, Atlantic, Iowa, April 17, 1920, page 4.
 
RIVER GOES ON A RAMPAGE
Damage to extent of $1,500,000 Done at Manistique, Mich.
 
    MANISTIQUE, Mich., April 17-- (Special)--More than $1,500,000 property damage was caused here when the Manistique River became a raging current, over-ran its banks and buried many main streets beneath from one to four feet of water.  The Goodwillie factory was completely wiped out, a paper mill practically destroyed, a lime works, chemical plant and many sawmills badly damaged.  Huge piles of timber to be cut into lumber, pulp wood for paper and other wood for chemicals were swept into Lake Michigan and lost.  A dozen homes were ruined while twenty more were under water to the second floor for several days, thereby ruining household effects.  Much merchandise in home and store basements were destroyed.  Warm rains and sunshine melted the unusual heavy snow in forests north of here caused the first flood the city has known in fifty years.