The Iroquois County Flood of 1994
as told to Loretta Lourine Krumwiede (Jacob) Barlow
on September 16, 1995

I had 5 1/2 foot of water in my basement. I lost an awful lot of stuff in my basement. My roll-away, furnace, dehumidifer, second refrigerator, freezer, water heater; the only thing saved was the washer and dryer. If my daughter's husband hadn't took it all apart afterwards and laid it all on the floor and scrubbed it all out and put it back together ...

This whole town...see they had 6 - 7 inches of rain around Loda, and we had 5 here, We get all the water from there. It hit Rankin, and my granddaughter lives close to a crick, and their yard filled with water. The first time ever. She quick called me, and I was in bed sleeping. She said, "Grandma, are you flooded?" I said, "Flooded? Why?" She said, "We're flooded, I've got everything packed; I'm leaving. I don't know how high it's gonna get. I'm goin' over to my dad's."

I said, "Okay, I'll get right up." I got up, and I looked out, and the water was just coming across the field. Before I got my clothes on, I was flooded, and a post floated in here and went right through my basement window. There was no stopping the water. As high as it got outside, it got in my basement.

It came up to the first step in my basement. See, I go down three steps from here in my kitchen, and it was up to the bottom step coming into the kitchen. I was still here in the house. I called the fire department, and I said, "I'm beginning to get leery. The water's maybe about two feet from my kitchen, and I think I'm ready to get out of here."

They were right down and they got me. I walked in water up to here (indicating chest-high). Through the yard. There's a crick goes right back here. There's just a field in between.

Cissna (Park) has never flooded before like that ... ever in history. It flooded right out to the high school and damaged the furnace and the boiler. They had to replace all that.

This flood - I've had a little seep water before, always nice and clear you sweep it right away - this flood I had mud that deep (indicating about 3 inches) . We had to take a hose and make a path to walk on. The mud was so slick you couldn't walk on it. You couldn't walk on these sidewalks out place. I never witnessed...

I'm still recuperating. It was horrid. I've lived in this house since 1963, and I never had more than seep water, that never, ever covered the whole floor. I could just sweep it over to the pump and it went out and that would be it.

You wouldn't belive... All my canned fruit was lost. I had a buffet down there and it was ruined. I had two antique cupboards down there. One was my mother's and one used to be Grandma's; I had them down there. The one I know was worth $165, because I saw one go at a sale just a week before. My cousin and I talked about it. I said, "I'm gonna get the old cupboard out and take it to a sale. If I can get a $165 for it, I'm gonna sell it."

I didn't get nothin' out of it. They were all crushed. One thing hit on top of another, and just broke them all up.

I lost 150 quart cans (jars) and 50 -75 pint cans of food. Everything I had canned that year, practically. The cans were all broken, and you can't imagine what we cleaned! Just picked it up by the scoopfuls.

I just hope as long as I live nothing ever happens like that again. It was only maybe 10 -15 houses that didn't have a problem. The whole town was flooded. Everywhere. Just couldn't believe it.

We had had rain for a solid week. All around us they were getting downpours of 3 inches, 4 inches. Twice they had 5 inches in Buckley. That water all comes through here and goes to Watseka. Our creek goes to Watseka. (Sugar Creek?) Watseka flooded something horrible, too.

All the streets in Cissna Park were blocked. It's something you never forget. It was horrible. It wouldn't have been bad if it had been clear water, but that mud! I think I had mud a little bit worse than most people because of that window going out. I had cornstalks - everything.

In the spring, they had had a horse show (indicating the property behind her house) and they used those big log pylon poles, and they never cleaned it up. This flood just picked those up and carried it right through. It ended up laying right here in my yard. Great big thing. Six men couldn't pick it up. When they did come and get it, they sawed it in hunks.

My car was water clear over the motor. I had to have it all cleaned out.

When the water got that high, I stood in this house and thought, what if this foundation would give? Everything would come clobbering on top of me. I'd better get out of here!

They drove in with the fire truck, and the water was as high as the lights on the fire truck. They said they couldn't come any further, and a guy came with hip boots on and a rubber suit, and helped me. I threw some extra clothes in a garbage bag, and threw my purse in it, and a flashlight, I guess, and extra clean shoes.

We went to the other side of town to a house that didn't have a basement. She had water clear up in her yard, but never got in the house.

They went and got my cousin, too. When we left here, I said, "I bet a dollar my cousin's in as bad a shape as I'm in." They said we'll drive by and check on her. Sure enough, she was. So he went to the house and got her and took us both over to that house. It took two days before the water went down enough they could get around and pump it out (of the basement).

I don't know how many people came in here with a tractor with a lift and got old people that couldn't walk and put them in that lift and took them out.

I never even thought of my car. It was in the garage. All I wanted to do was get out of here. Afterwards I thought, "Gosh, there's a lot of things I should have taken with me." I didn't.

Even if you are a good swimmer, you couldn't swim in it. I had all I could do, hanging on to this fella and him hanging on to me, to keep my feet on the ground. It just wanted to pick you up and throw you over.

All I thought of was clothes and my purse. That water was just like ice. I just shivered when I got to her house. Then I had to take a shower - I had all that dirty water on me.

Our main place to go would be to the high school, but this time the high school flooded.

Click here for information on flooding in the 1950s

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