THE FLOOD-By LaVern9\15\21
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IT STARTED TO RAIN ABOUT THE 10TH OF SEPTEMBER; AND RAINED AND RAINED, UP TO 15″ IN A FEW DAYS, At 2am, on the 13th the firemen went around with their foghorn telling people to get to to evacuate, Geneva stepped into water up to her knees when she jumped out of bed. She and family went to the Lyons Cemetery. Water poured down Evans street, and the Confluence area flooding the houses with 3.5 feet of water; many homes had over 50% damage and could not be rebuilt; others, were lifted up the 3.5 feet. All were cleaned out (furniture, etc) down to the 2×4’s with all their belongs put out on the curb. The homes that could not be rebuilt were bought by FEMA as buy-outs at their value before the flood…(There were 70 homes destroyed, 21 buy outs with FEMA; the others uplifted and redone; all town utilities and a lot of streets were damaged;)
16 trailers at Foothills Trailer Park on the South end of town were all flooded, and eventually hauled away..It was where the Botanical Gardens is being built. Across the River to the South, the Martin home was destroyed, leaving the barn, which was taken down, and now the land belongs to the town for Open Space; Along Road 69E, all homes were flooded. Larry Quinn was out-of-town, and Linda was stuck in the 2nd story, and was rescued by the LaFollette’s; Mary and Roy Griest,.luckily had their house raised when it was built and so didn’t suffer a lot of damage..
The water raced thru the Meadow Park Fruit Farm (on thru the Dog Park) and came out at the school. Luckily the MSr High was on a little rise, and was used as a rescue unit as most homes in the Lyons Valley Park area suffered some damage; The South Ledge Ditch overflowed into peoples’ basements. Most of the homes in Lyons Valley Park had some flood damage.
The Longmont Dam road was all flooded, with several bridges being destroyed. At one time word got out that the dam had broken (it was overflowing) which certainly caused a lot of panic.
Water poured down Apple Valley road, with a foot of water in the Coffey’s house; the Dobbins house was taken; Ken Singer & Sandy Spellman watch their kitchen and basement be flooded away. Sally King was stuck on the “other side of the river.” McGuckin’s Barn was flooded; the Dean’s had to rebuild; Barbara Welke lost her long-time rental house and the bridge to her barn_still can’t get over there;
Water poured down Highway 36, washing out the Weaver, Boland, and others (some not yet restored) and caused a lot of damage to The River Church. Here Gerald Boland lost his life, as he and Cheron had heard the call to evacuate and gone to town in two cars, trying to get to their daughter’s in Hygiene, but the road was closed; Cheron was stuck at the corner of 2rd and Main, and Gerald went to the Elementary School to find her. After not finding her, he went home and was caught in the flood going to the shed for his life jacket, and drowned..His red pickup and he were found downstream after a day or two. Very sad. (Boland was our long-time coach and taught the 5th and other classes over 30 years) He was our one casualty His wife, Cheron, is at the St. Vrain Manor; Holly and Amy in Longmont, and Brent at Highland Ranch. Again, we offer our Deep Sympathy.
We also suffered damage from the rain, as it poured down the mountains into homes, etc. Kathleen Spring and daughter Anya in Pinewood Springs were washed out by the rain and rescued by a helicopter, as were hundreds taken out by helicopter.
The water poured over Planet Bluegrass field and historic home. Greg Ferguson was unable to hold his concerts in 2014; many people sent donations to help him recover,
And flooded the 40 trailer homes at River Bend, very few were saved. It is now River Bend wedding place owned by Mike and Betsy Burton, Tiny House-overnight rentals, and the Lyons automotive Garage.
Water poured into the Fork, causing the basement to fill with the utilities all ruined; and onto the St. Vrain Market floor, who were lucky to barricade the door; on thru the parking lot, with a foot or so of water in the Lyons Depot Library (causing damage to hundreds of books); and into the Town Hall, up past the windows..(Here Jacque Watson and Victoria spent the night heaving computer ware and boxes off the floor;
The 5th Avenue bridge was in deep jeopardy of being pushed out by so many trees, and thanks to Steve McCain (excavating), who pushed them away and saved the bridge; On down to the footbridge; which was wiped out by the flood (yes, the water was that high) This is the one Flood Recovery Project that isn’t completed; bids are out and they are to start this fall-a two year project;
The water went down Evans Street, pouring into the Moffitt apartments. Here people had to be evacuated with a lot of work to restore it, on past Park Street, taking the Thomas corner house, and the Ray Thomas (Christmas) house. The Bank; Vasquez house, and those on down flooded; (several received recovery funds but had to be raised 3.5 feet.
Water poured into the Shopette, with a foot of water in the Black Bear Inn; (Hans and Annalise sold to the Quilt Store and live in Firestone). A four-star restaurant restaurant ruined by the flood;
The water poured on down closing the filling station, sweeping away the large log house on the corner of Highway 66 and Foothills Highway, belonging to the Dirkes family.
The West side of Evans street received little damage, as the street is about 2 inches higher
and the water veered away.
The damage was extensive in Longmont wiping out homes and businesses along the St. Vrain River, especially along Boston Avenue, and in south Boulder especially where all seniors at Frazer Meadows had to move.
The City of Boulder and University are just now having a vote to annex CU land to the south for Flood Safety.
Yes, it was a 1000 year flood, one we hope will not come again; seven people in Colorado died; 60 trailers at Milliken were washed away, and on down..
As to me, I was at my son’s at 238 High, when the call came to evacuate; (Jerry had just got home from work, where he came from Central City, with the roads closed thru Boulder and he had to go down Hwy 72 to I-25 to get up this way). We took our neighbor Susan Blingo and went first to the ME Church; then to the Lyons Elementary School. People were gathering there..but couldn’t turn the lights on; my son, Jerry knew where the switch was (due to the square dances); and they got in. Gerald Boland was standing at the doorway waiting for Sharon; He soon disappeared and had gone home where he was caught in the water and drowned. We stayed home a couple of days, but soon there was no water or electricity, so went to my son’s Ron, who lived in Niwot on a hill. We were there two months. We had to show identity to come into town and to our homes. Some homes were vandalized..After two months the utilities that were washed out in the Confluence area as well as the waste water plant and electricity were back on.
I found it hard to remember all that happened during the flood..drastic, but most survived!
By LaVern Johnson Sept. 15, 2021
President of Lyons Historical Society
dba Lyons Redstone Museum
; Box 9, Lyons, Co. 80540
THE FLOOD-By LaVern9\15\21