The Pueblo Flood and Levee Construction


     In early-June 1921, a terrible flood changed Pueblo, Colorado forever, destroying numerous homes and possessions. In response, authorities rerouted the Arkansas River a few miles south to a newly constructed levee next to the Union Depot. Since that time, the levee has managed to subvert any flooding so that that the center of town has never seen that level of destruction again. While the flood killed many people, it also impacted Pueblo's economy for decades afterward. In 1978, the Pueblo Chieftain described Union Avenue as a shadow of its former self and questioned if the flood prevented Pueblo from developing like Colorado Springs did following World War II.  By viewing our town through the lens of its numerous maps, it is much easier to understand exactly how the 1921 flood impacted the town. This first map is a general view of Pueblo from August, 1900. The area near the Union Depot was one of the more densely populated and affected by the flood most heavily due to its proximity to the River. 

    This zoomed in view of the same map shows Central Pueblo and the River to the northwest. 

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