YUMA, Ariz. – Friday marks the 100th anniversary of the historic flood of 1916 in Yuma. On January 22nd, 1916 the confluence of the Colorado River and the Gila River caused a catastrophic flood in downtown Yuma.
Main Street was flooded with up to 15 feet of water and the news of the destruction spread fast all the way to newspapers in Wisconsin. Yuma Historian Tina Clark said in the earliest history of Yuma there were many floods but the flood of 1916 is the one that people talk about the most.
Clark said, “In fact, the Gila River was the culprit this time, it’s very rare but in fact there was big, big rains so this levy came way downtown Yuma Main Street was inundated with 15 feet of water.”
The homes on Main Street were washed away but the flood waters didn’t reach Madison street so to this day some of the oldest adobe buildings in Arizona are still standing, such as the Sanguinetti House and Mellon Mercantile.
Clark said if you go to Century Heights on Second Avenue you can see some of the historic homes of Yuma that were built after the flood in 1916.
Clark said, “No more adobe homes on Main Street, all the buildings on Main Street are made out of brick.”