The Flooding of 1861 and 62

The first recorded flood by settlers in Del Norte happened between December 1861 and January 1862. Heavy rains hammered the area with floods following.

At high tide, the breakers forced themselves over “drift-wood, bulk heads, and break water, into the streets of Crescent City.” Huge logs washed up onto the sidewalks, crashing into Front street buildings, breaking windows and doors, and wreaking havoc.

But the losses in Crescent City were slight when compared with the loss suffered at Klamath. Fort Ter-Waw and the Wau-Kell Agency became inundated by flood waters, and most of the buildings swept away or wrecked.

One large officers’ tent from Fort Ter-Waw eventually washed up on the beach near Crescent City. The damage was so great that the post and agency were eventually abandoned.

A professor of Agriculture in the Sheffield Scientific School, William H. Brewer visited the area in 1863. He found the waters had brought down a large measure of wood, much of which ended up on the beaches between Crescent City and the mouth of the Klamath.

He reported there was enough timber along the shore, south of Crescent City, “to make a million cords of wood. It is thrown up in great piles, often a mile long, and the size of some of these logs is tremendous.”

Debris, 200 yards wide and three to eight feet deep, covered the beach for eight miles. Although worn by water and their bark gone, it was not uncommon to find logs 150 feet long and four feet in diameter at the small end.

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