Building Dikes Along the Mississippi to Protect East St. Louis, Illinois, from Flood

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
Floods are the terror of people who live in river valleys or along low sea shores. The inhabitants of such places protect themselves from overflows by building walls of various kinds. You recall that the Hollanders have reclaimed most of their land from the sea. This they have done by building dikes of earth and stone so that most of their little country is below sea level. In our own country, many places along the seashore are severely damaged each year by the water driven in from the ocean by high winds. One of the worst floods of this kind occurred at Galveston in 1900. A storm swept from the southeast over the gulf of Mexico. In Galveston many lives were lost and much damage to property was done. To protect themselves against a similar occurrence, the city has built a concrete seawall 17 feet high and more than 3 miles long. But by far the most damaging floods we have are caused by our rivers. Each spring we have a heavy rainfall, usually extending throughout the country. The small streams are swollen into torrents. These, in turn, empty into the rivers which spread out over the lowlands. Along the Ohio and the Mississippi Rivers a great deal of property is ruined every year by overflows. This view shows the common way of keeping the waters from spreading. The bank is made of bags of sand. These banks may be miles in length. When the water is at its height, men patrol these levees day and night to see that the water does not break through them. Sometimes, in spite of their watchfulness, the river cuts through, and then it is a race for life. One of our great national problems is to prevent river floods. Keystone ID: 20118 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.