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Category: The Great Flood

Clementine’s Little Sister

June 25th, 2014

I was in a canyon in the Gold Country last weekend, at the Yuba River researching my usual, the storm of 1862. And going for a nice swim. The Bridgeport covered bridge has signs saying it was built to replace the one washed away by the storm.

I marveled at the beauty of the canyon, saw a sign about gold panning regulations and suddenly found myself singing, “In a cavern, in a canyon, excavating for a mine….” I suddenly wondered, Is this song about the flood!? Is this yet another clue [...]

A Creek Through the Wiggle & Across Market at Church St.

December 10th, 2011

We tried to put the creek into our mural. Mona sketched it on paper. Seth painted it on the wall—three times before getting it the way he liked it, with the street names of the Wiggle bike route shimmering in the water. We carefully mocked reality with brown (Franciscan chert) rocks on the one side of the creek and green (serpentine) on the other side. We even allowed ourselves interpretive license when we colored it in crayon blues.

When we designed the mural (1996 & ’97) I [...]

New SF Lake Discovered

April 28th, 2011

As mentioned in my previous post, the access to old articles has increased amazingly. And that access helped me to break this story.

Or at least rediscovered…

A 25-acre Phelps’ Lake in San Francisco’s Panhandle?

I’ve just solved a mystery described in my previous research on the south area of Divisadero street. Back when it was a winding path through the dunes, Devisadero, as it was known, connected the Mission Dolores to the Presidio. The incorrect story had settled into this version over the years: San Souci Lake, located at Divisadero north [...]

News-digitizing making 1862 storm research easier

March 3rd, 2011

There’s great news about researching the storm. The California Digital Newspaper Collection has been working on digitizing old news, just as Thinkwalks has been doing, only with more funding. I love calling 150-year-old articles “news”! Perhaps it should be “renews.”

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know about my effort to create a detailed historical survey of the record-setting storm of 1862, which began in December 1861, lasting so long it was called the Noachian Deluge by many alive at the time; it was more than forty days and forty [...]

ARkStorm’s science challenge

January 17th, 2011

Since the Big Summit last week, ARkStorm has been getting a lot of press. Most of the coverage has been simply warning the public that a Big One could happen in the form of a superstorm, rather than a quake. The public interest is generally portrayed as being strictly about natural hazard emergency response.

Official preparation is certainly important. Information about the science and history of storms also needs to be emphasized. In fact, it’s in some ways even more important for the public to understand the implications in context, than [...]

Reports from the Storm—Part 1

January 4th, 2011

In my diggings concerning the bizarre month-long storm of 1861 and 1862, I’ve come across exciting tidbits. Some, such as the gold country rains of more than nine feet depth in one month (!) are shocking enough. However, nothing has been so exciting as reading words written in the midst of it, each more dire than the previous.

Leland Stanford was apparently forced to take a boat through the streets of Sacramento just to attend his own inaguration as Governor of California. Here's the speech he gave, as reprinted in [...]

Introducing Amy, renovating TW!

October 22nd, 2010

As you’ll be glad to see, dear reader, Thinkwalks is undergoing a small renovation. I’m taking this opportunity to thank you for your patience and let you know what’s in store.

An exciting meeting took place this week, as mentioned two posts ago. I hired Amy Conger to help systematize Thinkwalks projects. I’m so glad she agreed to help. I worked with her for years back in the 1990s at EpiCenter DeskTop, my two-storefronts-business in the Haight Ashbury and the Castro. I know and trust her, and she’s got a great [...]

The San Souci Lake–Pioche Mystery

October 19th, 2010

A report spreads for decades but makes no sense. How intriguing and frustrating. In a newspaper column from (unconfirmed date) April, 1919, Edward Morphy says that the lake in my neighborhood was destroyed by the 1862 storms with which I am so intrigued. But the detail given makes absolutely no sense. Says Morphy:

…probably the best known landmark of Divisadero street in the pioneer days was the old San Souci roadhouse which stood on the east side of a pretty little lake that then filled the space from Fulton to about [...]

Storm book project now a definitive Yes!

October 16th, 2010

The Thinkwalks blog is going into full swing today. At least for a time, likely many months, most content here will be related to the Storm Book I’ve begun researching.

My intent is to publish articles and a prospectus booklet, eventually extruding a book on the topic. I hope I can nudge The Great Storm and Flood from obscurity into public awareness with some serious research and writing. I consider myself lucky to have stumbled upon this incredible little-known topic. Of the professionals I recently consulted in related fields, few have [...]