An historical archive of the year of the great flood.

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.


Comments on: "Last Post" (11)

  1. Maureen and Vladimir Markov said:

    Thanks so much for the efforts you put in to this site, Steve. We really appreciate being kept in the loop(s) via your info gathering; it has really helped a lot over the past year of so many ch-ch-changes. Sad to see you go now, but good to know you are still around town…..Cheers!
    Maureen and Vladimir Markov

  2. Wendy Stokes said:

    Steve, likewise to what the Markovs (above) said…it has been a wonderful and healing project, one that I looked forward to opening everytime. Thanks so much. Also when I get to FB next, I want to credit you for the lovely labyrinth photo of yours that I Shared. You’ve got a good eye for excellent photos! I too am glad you’re a Jimbilly, and look forward to our next coffee (or beer/wine) together. Love, Wendy

    • Thanks Wendy. Unfortunately I dropped the Ball and forgot to credit the photos to Deborah (first one) and Nancy E for the others.

  3. David Mans said:

    Steve, this has been such a fantastic resource. You were right in seeing the need to spin off from the QT to provide a resouce-ful place for us to go. It has been indispensable, especially in those first months. Thanks so much for this great effort.

  4. Christina Anderson said:

    This website has helped me to stay connected in a very small way to the mountains and the town I loved the years I lived up there. I am looking at relocating to Northern New Mexico, so won’t ever live up there again, but the years I lived in the canyon were good ones. Hard, but good. I’ve listened to music and danced many times at the Merc, eaten some wonderful meals there and have really appreciated this website. Even though I am not up there, my heart has ached for the loss and dislocation that so many have suffered. A lot of progress had been made on restoration. Yes, it may take years, and some things will most likely never be the same, but still, Way to Go, Jamestown!

  5. Carolyn Donadio said:

    Steve – what a wonderful gift you provided throughout this year. It has been so appreciated. You will now have to entertain us with stories and pictures during the weekend morning coffee conferences! thanks much. carolyn

  6. Elizabeth DiPaolo said:

    Steve, thank you so much for your wonderful Jamestown Blog. You have made it possible for outsiders like me to watch the amazing progress that JT has made as well as letting me get to know every single resident just a little better. This will be a remarkable historical record of the year “after.” I know you put a ton of work into this project. Thank you and to all of the contributors for sharing something so personal…. your fema friend…. Elizabeth

  7. Donna Rabbitt said:

    Steve, sorry to see this go but so happy that it was available to all of us. I have faithfully followed both the QT and the Jamestown Connect to follow happenings that may or may not apply to me but also to reassure myself that things were in fact happening to others in a positive way. My situation is very unique and from what I’ve seen quite apart from others dilemma, One year after the flood, our recovery has yet to begin but (and this is a very big BUT) without the help of the amazing crew working out of the community center in Jamestown and the information stream you listed here I would not have even known where to begin and today I have a clear roadmap. Road map is all over the place but I am informed where each road will take me and that has been a rocky experience in itself. Thank you so much Steve for caring about us all and keeping us informed of progress and thank you, thank you Tara, Rebecca and all that have included James Canyon residents in their plight of rebuilding Jamestown itself.

    Maybe just twice a week or Not, your efforts do not go unappreciated Steve.

  8. Thank you, Steve, for an incredible resource and a year of thoughtful posts and reflections. You’ve created an archive of moments that would be lost otherwise. Your work is very much appreciated!

  9. Chris Craigo said:

    Joining the chorus — thank you for providing this over the past year and for archiving it!!

  10. Jean Hofve DVM said:

    Thanks so much, Steve! It has meant the world to me to be able to follow Jamestown happenings during the last year. You’ve done a magnificent job and a tremendous service to all who love the town called Jim!

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