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From the Kidmonton story “Fred’s Flood”

Fred Barnes

June 27th, 1915

Excerpt from the Kidmonton story “Fred’s Flood”

Fred Barnes

June 27th, 1915

Everything floated by us—homes, uprooted trees and logs, lumber, even stranded cows and chicken on rooftops—and a huge mess piled up against the Low Level Bridge.

“That bridge will collapse for sure,” said my pal, but he was wrong.

At noon the Canadian Pacific Railway sent a train with two locomotives to weigh down the bridge so we wouldn’t lose it, too. The plan worked. A huge stable from John Walter’s place crashed into the bridge railings, but the Low Level Bridge stayed put.

Grownups were in a big panic, as usual. Everybody tried to help out with the rescues, and the emergency shelters, but so many men are away at war right now that the volunteers were soon exhausted. Col miners set dynamite charges to break up the dangerous log jam below the bridge. Water flooded about seven hundred houses on the Flats, covering walls, floors, and ceilings with slick, slimy mud.

At 10 o’clock on Monday night you couldn’t see a flicker of light in Edmonton. The river flooded the Rossdale Power Plant, and our electricity went out. We had no drinking water for a long while, either.

The flood wasn’t a complete disaster. Okay, I’ll admit it. I had fun. My buddies and I went down to the Flats, pulled up what was left of the wooden sidewalks, and made rafts. We were the Huckleberry Finns of Edmonton, Alberta.

Floating down the street rivers, we would pull ourselves in front of a house, then holler for help. What a commotion! People hurried from all directions to rescue us. Then we’d pull our raft around a corner, float along a new street, and try the same stunt again.

We spent all day getting rescued!

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