Flooding in February 1922

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Severe weather in Rockford this time of year is nothing unusual. A flood on Feb 22, 1922 along the banks of Keith Creek claimed the life of a five year old boy who was caught up in its raging waters. Heavy rains and a high temperature of 61 degrees flooded an area a mile square (in southeast Rockford near 7th Avenue) as waters rose and carried large cakes of ice downstream. Several streetcars ceased operation and storm sewers were quickly overwhelmed. Streets and sidewalks were overcome with mud and debris and sections of pavement were ripped out by the waters as well.

The City Engineer, B.C. Harvey, along with his city engineering department and police officers, worked feverishly to keep the city sewers clear of debris so as to allow the water passage. Harvey, who served as Rockford’s City Engineer from 1921-1927 is seen here on the earth moving machine, dealing with the aftermath of the flooding. While he served the City Harvey oversaw many large scale public improvement projects, including the establishment of the Rockford Sanitary District and a massive expansion of the city sewer system. He also designed the Jefferson Street Bridge.

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