An historical archive of the year of the great flood.

Archive for September, 2014

Last Post

This is the last post of the Jamestown Connect. The website will remain up and available as a historical archive of the first year after the Great Jamestown Flood of 2013.

It was exactly one year ago today, to the minute (5:31 AM), that I published the first post, two days after Nancy and I were evacuated.

Sitting in Kara and Waldy’s house in Longmont (after they rescued Nancy, the pets, and me from the teeth rattling Blackhawk helicopter drop-off and Niwot High School, and put a roof over our heads for six weeks), I kept checking the QT for status and critical information, like how to contact FEMA, or when could I drive back to town in a borrowed car. But it was hard to find facts because there were so many messages scrolling by so fast from concerned friends and family.

I wished I had a resource that gave me just the factual information that we needed. Then it occurred to me that if I needed that then other residents did too.

So I started the Jamestown Connect with the idea that it would only contain immediately useful information for evacuees. Over the months the mission expanded to include:

  • Recovery-related actionable information and announcements of immediate interest
  • Posts of interest to the community that I hoped would help people find some peace, such as Flood Journals and the Shadow posts
  • Posts of better days before the flood to help us remember how it will be again, such as Sunday Reflection
  • With rare exception I did not post pictures of the disaster unless it helped tell a particular story, such as a few before and after photos. (However, I did create the Jamestown Shoebox linked to the site to be a collecting place for disaster and other photos by community photographers.)

Jamestown Connect gained a following, and I appreciate the many nice things that people have said to me about the website. The year’s stats include:

  • 402 posts
  • 36 Sunday Reflections
  • Over 53,000 views
  • Over 300 followers by email
  • Visitors from more than 30 countries
  • Numerous “likes” on Facebook

But the site was always meant to be temporary, as the banner says, “ . . . until we are together again.” Now, a year later, about 90% of the households have returned home. Some will never return.

A year ago I naively thought there will soon come a day when “we’ll be back to normal.” That was before I saw the devastation up close and personal and could comprehend the implications. Now it’s clear that the old normal may never be again. We are evolving to a new normal and I can’t predict what that looks like or when Jamestown will be there.

It may be years before there is a full recovery and the flood is a distant memory. But we have come a long way in a year thanks to the tenacity of Jimbillys and help from FEMA, State of Colorado. Boulder County, Red Cross, United Way, faith-based groups (like the Texas Baptists, Salvation Army,  and Mennonite Disaster Services), and an army of volunteers, to name a few. And last but not least, our hard working and dedicated Town Government. But I think we would have become just another abandoned mountain ghost town were it not for the remarkable leadership of our mayor, Tara Schoedinger.

In the last year we have gone from looking like this:

Jackie on Main Street_DSC1674
to this:

Clearly, we have come a long way. But there is a long way to go.

This is the spirit that will take us there . . .


To stay abreast of important information and the continued recovery, use these resources:

  • the QT
  • Jamestown Newsletters
  • Jamestown web site
  • If you are a resident, make sure you are on the town’s email list. Call the Town Office if you aren’t receiving town emails: 303.449.1806
  • Attend Community Meetings

I’d like to end with this photo of Shadow who has become the symbol of Jamestown’s survival and resilience. As John Hardman said, “Meow-tain Strong!


Regards and thanks for being the most amazing community that I could ever imagine.



Denver Post covers the 1 year flood anniversary

Click photo to view.

Jamestown Labyrinth

The Jamestown Labyrinth dedication was yesterday. The winding path of the labyrinths creates a circular pattern, where the circle is a universal symbol representing unity, wholeness and infinity. It is a path with one entrance and a single route that winds in a circular pattern to the center. From the labyrinth’s center point the same path will take you out again. A labyrinth is different from a maze in that there are no wrong turns or dead ends. Thanks Julie and Matt Kolhaas, Deborah Haynes, and everyone else involved for making it happen.





Sunday Reflection


Jamestown Mercantile, September, 1999

Mountain Strong, the beautiful people of Jamestown (video)

Sal DeVincenzo created this video to commemorate the first anniversary of the the Great Jamestown Flood of 2013. It portrays the people and sites of Jamestown after the flood.

Mark’s Jamestown Flood Story (video)

Mark Wischmeyer created this video to commemorate the first anniversary of the the Great Jamestown Flood of 2013. It portrays a first-hand account of the flood while it was happening through his own videos and photos, and those he collected from the community.

Jamestown’s Mountain Strong (video)

Steve Edelstein created this video to to commemorate the first anniversary of the the Great Jamestown Flood of 2013. It focuses on the people of Jamestown during and after the flood. It underscores that Jamestown is much more than the physical structures that were ripped away by the flood. Music by Kyle Williams.

Before the Flood (video)

Steve Edelstein created this video to to commemorate the first anniversary of the the Great Jamestown Flood of 2013. As we rebuild or little mountain town, it servers as reminder of the way things were before the flood. Music by Elizabeth Ousley.

The Jamestown Flood by Leon Hill

September 11th, 2013, the little town of Jamestown was going to sleep.

When all of a sudden there came the thunder, then came the rain.
Then came the roaring that sounded like a train.

The Jamestown Flood was on its way
to making history on this day.

We stood by and watched as things came to pass.
The water, the rocks, the trees and the trash.

For two days and two nights it was like a war zone.
The helicopters taking the people from their homes.

Then things settled down in a day or two
And it seemed as though no one knew what to do.

Then, one morning the town work up to a bright, bright light.
We looked up the road and Oh, what a sight.

There were yellow shirts here and there were yellow shirts there.
There were Southern Baptist men and women everywhere.

They came to town with the one thing in mind,
to clean up the mess the flood left behind.

And clean up they did with smiles on their faces.
Removing the mud and the trash from so many places.

Now and then they would stop to say a prayer
And give thanks to man who was watching from upstairs.

And then it came time for them to go home.
They came down the road in their cars and trucks all shiny with chrome.

We lined both sides of the road to say goodbye
As they drove off, as it into the sky.

(I think that is where they came from to help the little Town of Jamestown)

— Leon Hill —
Jamestown Resident

Oak’s remembrance of the Jamestown flood one year ago today

Thursday, Sept. 12th. Rain grows a beard, becomes the wrathful Old Testament god, or some guy drunk in a bar. He opens his red and black maw and swallows us all up. Outside, there is just flood. Infamous, the Hundred Year Flood, which is really the 500 Year Flood, and some will say the millennial flood. Holy holy!


Jamestown Newsletter, September 10, 2014

Anatomy of the 2013 flood, 1,000+ year event

The National Weather Service posted this file of the September flood with statistics, maps, and other interesting information.

Click the image to view.
nws flood

Sunday Reflection

Daily Camera, January 21, 2003

Wonderful Jamestown kid’s flood video

Be patient with yourself

From Rebecca Lawrence, Community Advocate:

It’s been almost a year since the floods affected Jamestown. Commemorative activities have been planned throughout the flood zones all over Colorado including Jamestown.

There is no “right or wrong way” to approach this…no “playbook” to follow. The best thing to do is follow your heart…. your heart knows what you need. Whether it’s:
… join in the activities around town with other community members
… be with friends in Jamestown
… be with friends elsewhere
… be solitary in your favorite spot

Above all (please forgive me when I say this),” be patient” with yourself & those around you. Patience…a word you have grown weary of this past year as the flood recovery has taken longer than many anticipated.

…..please be patient and try not to be judgmental of others for the way they choose to approach the anniversary….be tolerant & compassionate of their approach to the days ahead.

When you were cut off from the rest of the county, it was the united community approach, coupled with diversity and individual talents that brought you out. A lot has been accomplished since then….clean-up…installed water lines…repairs…more people are home…the school is open…there is forward positive motion.

So however you choose “to be” when the 1 year mark rolls around be good to yourself…be good to those around you…give yourself the credit you deserve for the perseverance you have shown.

If I can support you in anyway don’t hesitate to let me know. Please know what an honor it is to be working for Jamestown.

Rebecca Lawrence
Jamestown Community Advocate

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