Denver, CO (Other Towns) Dam Break Flood, Aug 1933

DAM BREAK CAUSES HEAVY LOSS IN DENVER.

WALL OF WATER CAUSES DAMAGE OF $1,000,000.

MOUNTAIN CLOUDBURST CAUSES DISASTER IN COLORADO; TWO DEAD AND OTHERS MISSING.

ANOTHER STORM CLAIMS A LIFE.

TORRENT RIPS AWAY SIX BRIDGES WHEN IT REACHES METROPOLIS; BUSINESS HARD HIT.

Denver, Aug. 3. -- (AP) -- Crumbling under the terrific pressure a mountain cloudburst added to the three-square miles of water behind its walls, 43-year old Castlewood Dam sent a billion-gallon deluge roaring and battering through Denver Thursday, leaving two dead and an estimated $1,000,000 property damage in its 35-mile path of destruction.
Pounding down on Franktown, tiny village on a hillside four miles below the dam, the surging tide swept on six miles to Parker, at times on a mile-wide front, and picked up tons of debris as it swirled into suburban Denver and sent Cherry Creek on a rampage through the heart of the city.
When the rock-filled irrigation reservoir dam cracked, the loosed flood waters quickly converged the fertile farm lands into a mud splattered slough.
Warned of the oncoming flood, Denver police and firemen with sirens going full blast sped through the Country club residential district warning everyone to flee from their homes in the lowland area. Emergency ambulance corps took invalids from many homes.
A separate cloudburst, one of four rainstorms and five hailstorms that hit southeastern Colorado in the last 24 hours, took the life of MRS. CLAUDE HILL, 50, when her ranch home in the Matheson region was washed several hundred yards off its foundation. Her husband and seven children escaped.
TOM CASEY, 80, was found drowned in a deep hole in the rear of a Denver residence, where, JAMES BOYD, who found his body, said CASEY went to survey the flood destruction.
MRS. BERTHA CATLIN, 21, employed on a ranch near Franktown, four miles below Castlewood dam, was thrown from her horse and drowned in a swirling creek. Franktown was directly in the path of the deluge.
Miners who had been panning gold beneath the dam were reported missing and may swell the death toll.
When the torrents descended upon Denver, and 11-foot wall of water carrying tons of debris down Cherry Creek, which cuts diagonally through the city, ripped out six bridges in rapid succession and flooded the fashionable residential section.
Hundreds, awakened by sirens of police autos, fled in night clothes in their automobiles to higher places. Others were rescued by firemen and police.
Business in the downtown district was demoralized through the morning and early afternoon when the Champa street bridge was swept away, carrying power lines with it.
Employes of many downtown firms were working by candlelight, as business was almost demoralized. Public service company officials did not know when power and light service would be normal. Many telephone lines were down.
The city auditorium, at Fourteenth and Champa streets, was flooded and the big pipe organ in the building was damaged.
MILDRED BEMIS, daughter of a city policeman, who was watching from a building room the flood waters as they swept through Denver said she saw what she believed was a body floating in the current, but police were not able to locate it.
Airplane observers sent from Denver discounted reports what a new flood was on its way from Parker, between Castlewood dam and Denver.
The reservoir at Castlewood is dry except for a trickle of water over the dam. About half of the dam -- a rock-filled structure of an early type, built years ago -- gave way. The roar when the dam broke was heard two miles away. Water surged over the dam in an 11-foot high wall and cascaded through the valley toward Denver.

Billings Gazette Montana 1933-08-04

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