With more than half of the town submerged, the water standing at the eaves of many of the houses and business places closed or forced to carry on trade with extreme difficulty, Cedar Falls looks on helpless at the rising waters of Rattlesnake lake.
Thirty-four families and shopkeepers yesterday had retreated before the higt water, abandoning their homes and taking their household goods and articles of sale into boxcars, tents and improvised shelters. It is possible for the lake still to climb eighteen feet before it reaches its maximum rim, breaks over the east barrier and flows into the Snoqualmie basin.
Should the water continue to rise at its present rate, a foot and a half a day, in twelve days the entire town, with the exception of a temporary store building thrown up by the city of Seattle's engineer's department, the church and the school house will be under water.
C. W. Ide, superintendent of construction at the city's masonry dam, estimates that it will take almost three weeks for the porous north bank of the Cedar river reservoir to drain. Rattlesnake lake is getting its unusual flow of water from seepage through this bank. If Mr. Ides's estimate proves correct the lake will not recede until it has practically covered the town.
Yesterday Postmaster F. H. Harding, who is also principal of the Cedar Falls school, was forced to move the postoffice from the main street to a room in the school house. Water in the afternoon had reached the strip of sidewalk in front of the two-story hotel on the main street. The building contains on the first floor the hotel office, a restaurant and barber shop and pool hall. These businesses must move if the water continues to rise.
Cedar Falls yesterday presented an unusual spectacle. To the east of the hotel, which is built on sloping ground, stretched the lake, with the roofs of cottages jutting up from the water. The window sashes and doors of many of the houses were removed. Some of the frame buildings, undermined, tipped backward or leaned, drunkenly, sideways, the vacant windows resembling wide-staring eyes.
A little flock of ducks boated about Main street. Some hencoops floated down this principal avenue. Boys in rafts and men in boats poled to the vacant houses in the hope of rescuing some forgotten article.
Those who have been forced to move from their houses or shops are R. E. Nye, Albert Fugitt, George Robillard, M. E. Bybee, J. E. Erdman, W. A. Brown, R. P. Harris, J. J. Brownlee, Mrs. C. Sandeen, C. W. Carter, John Rexton, L. H. Lemon, Amos Fugitt, F. H. Harding, J. R. Miller, B. H. Smith, J. E. O'Connell, F. Ferris, Henry Steinman, Roscoe Jackson, George Kemp, B. J. Crosby, Fred Buxton, Sam Sybrant, H. M. Clark, J. J. Foley, Al Heap, Thomas Vale, Ray F. Benjamin, U. E. McDermott and Messrs. Wendorf, Shad and McAfee.
If the water rises nine feet higher Cedar Falls will be cut off from the North Bend road. Supplies will then have to come over the trails back of the town.
Mr. Ide, for the city, is furnishing the town with lumber from the mill at camp 2 for the construction of a temporary building on the city's freight platform at the Milwuakee railway depot. The grocery store of W. A. Brown and other shops will be housed here if it is necessary to move. Two of the city's teams were at work yesterday in the removal of goods from dwellings.
School Principal Harding is the father of a two-week old baby boy. When the lake advanced to his door step three days ago, he was forced to move his wife on a stretcher from the cottage to the house of a neighbor, on the higher shelf of ground near the school.
R. J. Crosby, a locomotive engineer, had an apiary in the rear of his home. It was necessary to hurriedly remove the hives to the hill back of the town when the flood came. Yesterday a brown splotch on the roof of his house indicted tht some of the bees had escaped in the moving.
Mr. McDermott watched the creeping water from the porch of the hotel yesterday and told of a soda and ice cream fountain he had ordered for his drug store. "It will be no use now," he said ruefully.
A woman who saw her garden covered, expressed her mingled disgust and regret in a spirited foreign tongue. Little boys and girls came to Ralph S. Whaley, the engineer who yesterday investigated the situation for the city, and asked if their parents would have to move. One family invaded the church with its household goods. The Milwuakee railway has fifty cars of oil stored in a sump near the track. It is not believed, however, that either this stored-up oil, or the railway tracks themselves, are in danger.
The citizens of Cedar Falls yesterday appointed R. E. Nye, A. P. Jordan and J. A. Bayne as a committee to meet the city council of Seattle this week, and present an estimate of losses incurred. Various estimates were given yesterday by the people of the town, varying from $25,000 to $50,000. Appraisers from the city comptroller's office were at work at Cedar Falls yesterday preparing a list of the houses inundated and stock damaged.