Monroe County Library System,  Monroe, MI 48162


Bygones of Monroe:


Monroe Commercial, pg 1, April 1, 1875

The River.

Heavy Ice Gorges. Mill Dams Carried Away. Banks Overflowed. Damage to Property, Etc.

The river on Tuesday was the center of attraction. Until late in the day Monday the water was low and the ice, much broken up, seemed to be melting gradually away. But towards night, Monday, a rise commenced, and Tuesday morning found the ice gorged a short distance below Macomb street bridge, the gorge extending up the river, covering both Walldorf's and the Waterloo dams, and the water gradually rising. The island opposite the Waterloo Mills was covered entirely to the depth of probably two feet, which has not occurred before within the memory of our business men.

Hundreds of people were on the bridges watching to see the ice move. At about 10 o. clock the gorge gave way, and the vast body moved rapidly down the stream. Another gorge however, very soon occurred, this time just below the Canada Southern bridge, at the head of the islands, the ice below that point still remaining solid. In a very short time the river was filled with ice again up to Monroe street bridge, the river rising and setting back over the low grounds in the lower part of the city, flowing across Front street to Humphrey, flooding Ilgenfritz & Co.'s nursery grounds near the depot, submerging the island between the two R.R. bridges, driving the residents from their homes, and doing some damage to furniture and out property.

The premises of the residents on Front street, between the Railroad and Wadsworth street, were pretty much all submerged, their cellars filled, and in some cases there was danger of the water entering the first floor. Even the residents on the river bank west of the old brewery were in a very precarious condition. The gardens and yards of the residents along the river on the north side were also submerged, and two or three families were driven out and obliged to find shelter elsewhere. The jam of ice from the R.R. Bridges to Monroe street was fearful to behold, and at the Macomb street bridge was fairly up to the iron work. The bridge, however, was in no danger, as the great mass of ice was below it.

This condition of things remained with little change till yesterday noon, when the ice from the Paper Mill dam, three miles up, came down with a rush, causing another rise, which forced the gorge to break way, and the jam subsided without further damage to the great relief of our citizens.

When the first gorge gave way at about 10 o.clock Tuesday morning, starting the ice out of the Waterloo pond, the dam gave way, and was almost entirely carried down stream. Later in the day a portion of the dam at the Hess mill, farther up the stream, was carried off, and also a small portion of Walldorf's dam. The Hess mill, being run by Mr. Pendleton, is supplied with steam power, so that it will not have to stop running; but Mr. Harvey, at the Waterloo Mills, will be very greatly inconvenienced. The expense of a new dam will fall very heavily upon him, while his business will suffer greatly by his mill being obliged to lie still for so long a time.

The heavy masses of ice setting back into the river on either side has done a great deal of damage to gardens, fences, small outbuildings, fruit and ornamental trees, &c., &c.

Monroe Commercial, pg 1, April 1, 1875

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