Faces of the flood

Todd Gareau and his fiancée Julie Stevens have lived at 301 I Avenue NW for six months. They moved to the house six months ago. The home had undergone renovations before they moved in, and they planned to purchase the house. "We were building a home together," Stevens said. It would have been the first home either had owned. Now, they plan to leave Iowa. They had set a wedding date in August, but say they may get married sooner.

A few weeks ago the Gazette photo staff began photographing each house that is considered unsafe and scheduled for demolition, with each photographer taking responsibility for the homes in their assigned post-flood coverage zone. My zone centers around the Time Check neighborhood, so I spent a couple days photographing each house and leaving notes in the hope that the residents would return and contact me for a portrait before their homes are gone. So far I've photographed nine families, and have 12 that I haven't heard from yet.

We started running the portraits last Sunday, and plan to continue running them in the paper when we have space. Even if some of these are never published in print, we're creating a document of the history of these homes and the flood's impact.

We're also in the beginning stages of creating a database of memories and photos of homes in the flood zone, inviting contributions at our website.

Henry Franks, 61, and his son Mark Franks, lived at 321 I Avenue NW. Henry's grandmother bought the house shortly after it was built in 1900. Henry moved to the house in 1981.

Jeff and Shannon Gardemann lived at 317 I Avenue NW for four years with their daughter and three grandchildren. Shannon was born and raised in Cedar Rapids, and the couple plans to stay in Cedar Rapids. Their home was under 14 feet of water in the flood, damaging the foundation, floors and ceilings.

Sue and Roger Jensen had lived at 819 G Avenue NW for 16 months. They were renting the house from friends Steve and Jody Bursovsky after moving back to Cedar Rapids from Dallas. Both were born and raised in the area, and would like to move back to the northwest quadrant, depending on what happens to the neighborhood. They're currently renting a home on the southwest side. "We treated it like it was our home," Roger said. "It was our home, even though we didn't own it." Some flowers they had planted were still in the garden out front, but some of the plants had been washed into the basement when part of the foundation wall collapsed.

Dan Hartgrave (from left), his wife Tina Hartgrave and their daughter Megan Hartgrave planned to move into this house at 1232 3rd Street NW and were in the process of getting permits for renovation before the flood struck and ripped the porch off the front of the house. They had lived across the street at 1227 3rd Street NW until 2003, and bought this house in 2004 with plans to renovate. When they were gutting the house, they found a 1939 Quaker safety handbook.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats all this that you're doing! the world needs you!

    Davi Luz - From Brazil.(sorry fr the wrong english!)