200@200 : October — To Govern and Serve
Date:
1982
Title:
Flood Water Can
Description:
As a result of heavy snowmelt and strong thunderstorms, the St. Mary's, St. Joseph, and Maumee Rivers began rising rapidly on the night of March 12, 1982, causing the most devastating flood the city had experienced since 1913. Originally predicted to crest at just over 19 feet, the waters continued to rise. As the dikes gave way, citizens came to help with the sandbagging efforts, but the waters continued to rise and neighborhoods near the rivers were evacuated.

On March 16, the crisis had hit the national news and President Ronald Reagan decided to make a brief stop in the city. Despite stormy weather, the president's plane landed at Baer Field (now Fort Wayne International Airport) and he travelled to join the sandbaggers for a brief time, expressing genuine concern for the city. Mayor Winfield Moses later believed that Reagan's visit provided the city with more federal aid than it might have received had he not visited.

The rivers finally crested at 26.93 feet, just shy of the record 27.1 feet recorded in 1913. Fort Wayne became known as "the City That Saved Itself." The following year, in 1983, the city received an All—American City honor, largely in recognition for its effort during the flood.

This tin can has a green paper label. In black is printed, "Dehydrated FLOOD WATER commemorating the Heroic Efforts of the 30,000 Sandbaggers———primarily students, who saved thousands of Fort Wayne homes from the Flood of 1982." The label also features quotes from several people concerning the flood.
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Dehydrated Flood Water Can, 1982Dehydrated Flood Water Can, 1982
Dehydrated Flood Water Can, 1982Dehydrated Flood Water Can, 1982
Dehydrated Flood Water Can, 1982Dehydrated Flood Water Can, 1982
President Reagan sandbagging, 1982President Reagan sandbagging, 1982
President Reagan sandbagging, 1982President Reagan sandbagging, 1982
Citizens sandbagging, 1982Citizens sandbagging, 1982