PUEBLO, Colo.- On June 3, 1921 floodwaters from the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek swept through the heart of Pueblo. What it created destroyed the city, killed hundreds, and devastated the entire community.
Since 1921, the city has rebuilt, the downtown area was reconstructed and the river now controlled.
But it’s a day to never be forgotten by the Pueblo Community as June 3rd will now be called “Flood Remembrance Day.”
On Wednesday, city leaders held a ceremony along the Riverwalk to commemorate the tragic day in history. The Riverwalk was once a meeting spot between the Arkansas River and Fountain Creek. The location that suffered the most damage.
“We think we have problems in today’s world having lived through a pandemic. Those problems if you look back they sort of pale in comparison to what our ancestors went through,” Pueblo Mayor Nick Gradisar said.
To prevent this kind of disaster from ever happening again, a larger channel was constructed, which diverted the Arkansas River away from downtown Pueblo.
“The levee was introduced. The dam was brought forth so there are a lot of efforts to ensure that doesn’t happen again and we certainly rebuilt much stronger than before,” Pueblo County Commissioner Garrison Ortiz said.
Ortiz said The Pueblo Conservancy District was formed after the flood to oversee the relocation of the river.
A PBS documentary called “The Great Pueblo Flood” will be aired on Rocky Mountain PBS starting at 7 p.m discussing the flood and how Pueblo has rebuilt since.