Through the Lens: The Aftermath of the 1921 Pueblo Flood
In the days that followed, photographers documented the destruction wrought by the flood. A century later, their images are powerful testimonies to the devastating scale of the catastrophe.
Photographers were among the first to survey the devastation caused by the flood of 1921 in Pueblo and the surrounding area. Their images captured rail lines washed away and tracks irreparably twisted. They documented overturned freight and passenger trains tipped by the force of the floodwaters. Everywhere they pointed their lens, the wreckage was catastrophic.
These images of the flood were compiled in a photo book, which J. Russell, the general manager of the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad, offered as a gift to Rio Grande workers. The book is stamped with the name of J.W. Martz, the assistant superintendent of the railway at the time of the flood. Martz later gave it to a Mr. Granger, as indicated by a handwritten note to Granger. The images from the book have recently been digitized, and here we share a few of them.
The captions are the original notations in the book.
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How Many People Died During the Pueblo Flood?Pueblo-based professor Jonathan Rees searched for the answer to the perpetual question of just how many deaths the Great Flood of 1921 had caused. What he came away with was even more important: a sense of the flood’s impact in shaping the city of Pueblo, even to this day.