Between 500,000 and 750,000 cubic yards of earth and gravel were sluiced away from the hillside into the valley below by the outbreak of water through the north bank of the city's $2,000,000 Cedar River dam yesterday when two lumber mills, numerous houses and a part of the Milwaukee Railroad's main line were swept away near Edgewick.
Reports from the vicinity of Edgewick this morning indicate that the outbreak covered an enormous area. The water made its way for a mile through openings in the prehistoric moraine that forms the north bank of the new dam basin and merged into numerous small streams over an area of 500 feet in width. These streams rushed down the hillside and about 200 feet below joined with Boxley Creek, converting the little stream into a river 150 feet in width.
The city's famous Denny Hill regrade meant the removal of approximately 2,000,000 feet of earth and required about two years. The outbreak of the Cedar River basin carried away at least a third as much earth within a very few hours.
According to reports reaching Seattle this morning the Milwaukee railroad track in some places was covered with earth eight feet deep. About one-half mile of track was made impassable. At Edgewick, which is about five miles east of North Bend, the mills of the North Bend Lumber Company and the McCann Shingle Mill were directly in the path of the flood caused by the bursting of a dam on Boxley Creek. Both mills were wrecked and a dozen or more dwellings carried away. Eleven automobiles were swept away by the flood, but some of them will doubtless be recovered.
Estimates of the damage range from $150,000 to $200,000, aside from the loss of time on contracts by both mills.
The break in the north bank of the Cedar River dam basin that caused the flood damage at Edgewick is located about midway between the old wooden dam on Cedar River and the new masonry dam and is about a mile north and 400 or 500 feet below the basin of the new dam.
That at least a dozen families of the community owe their safety and probably their lives to Charles Moore, night watchman at the mill, was the story received from Edgewick last night. Moore discovered the danger to the mill dam, hurried back to the mill and tied down the whistle, then made the rounds of the homes rousing the inmates.