This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lakeshore views

Rensselaer suddenly has a lot of lakeside property, and some of it is for sale. Buy it now while the lakes are still there!
The picture above shows water from the swale that runs through Rensselaer. It is what accounts for the water on Cullin Street between Susan and Clark, and at the intersection of College and Jackson, which is shown below. The Imes-Babcock-Paulus House, an Italianate, was built in 1879, The porches were added in 1914, and the back addition a year or two ago. The pond in front was added on Tuesday.
The LaRue Pool also has a lake by it. Too bad it will not be there when the weather is warm. The "pool rats" would love it.
The future Kirby Risk building on 114 has a substantial lake behind it. I hope the developers deal with the drainage before they put up more buildings.

Many areas of the Saint Joseph's College campus have poor drainage, and on Wednesday that gave the Apartments a lakeside view. If it were warmer, there would be students in the picture. But we dropped about 40 degrees in a few hours last night, from the mid 60s to the mid 20s early this morning. It is a bit chilly to be playing in water.
If anyone was wondering the rationale for Austin Park, this picture shows it. It floods. All of it.
The picture below shows how high the water is in this flood. This is a big one. It is not as big as the flood of July 2003 (and I hope I never see another as big), but it is likely to be in the top five for the past fifty years. The USGS gauging station at Laird's Landing has the current (7:30 pm, Wednesday, March 11, 2009) water height at 15.88 (over 12 is flood), and the flow at 2570 cfs, and it is still be rising a bit. The average for the day will be a less than 2570, but it will be much higher than the previous high for the day, which was only 1670 in 1990. (The highest the river got in 2003 was 16.59. See here.)Here is the last house on Milroy, which now is right on the shoreline.
Weston Cemetery is a big lake.
The picture below shows the bridge over the creek. If you look carefully, you will see just the tops of the bridge railings peeking above the surface. That is how I remember the bridge looking back in July 2009. So the river in Rensselaer may be pretty close to the height it was in July 2003. However, downstream it is not nearly as deep. I went out to Mount Calvary Road to see how much water was on it, and although the sign said there was water, I could not see it. In 2003 a large stretch of it was underwater, and there was a huge lake there that is not there now.
However, there is flooding south of town, as the road-closed sign indicates. My guess is is along the Howe Ditch. The signs here are near the entrance to Saint Joseph's College
The scene below is pretty common in Rensselaer wherever there are basements. This is along Melville Street.Do you have any interesting flood stories or information? Feel free to leave them in the comments.

PS: I saw a lot of robins on Tuesday and Walmart was setting up their garden center, more signs of spring.

Update: The river seems to have crested a bit above 16.1 feet early today.

In my basement drain I can see water about two inches down. There should be no water there. I think it is reflecting the level of the river. In the flood of July 2003, the water level rose above the floor of the basement, and water spurted from the cracks in the floor. That had never happened before. So this flood thankfully will fall a bit short (about five inches) of the 2003 flood.

Update 2: Friday morning at 8:00 the river was at 15.74 and headed down.


Desert Survivor said...

I don't remember a flood that high (I wasn't around for the 2003 flood). good luck!

Anonymous said...

Your photos are great, since you were adventuresome enough to get in to the middle of things. Thanks too for the good history.