JAMESTOWN, Colo. (CBS4) – The impact of the Colorado flooding five years ago on the small mountain town of Jamestown could be felt by all who lived, visited and worked there.
On Sept. 9, 2013, rain started falling and didn’t stop for seven days. Creeks and rivers flooded in Boulder County and elsewhere and wound up causing major devastation.
“I had no idea that it would literally take five years of reconstruction,” said Rainbow Schultz, owner of the Jamestown Mercantile in the center of town. As the town was being torn apart at the seams, the cafe served as an anchor for residents and responders and kept its doors open.
Approximately 250 people live in Jamestown, and many wound up trapped for days because roads leading in and out in northwestern Boulder County were destroyed.
“It was really a … phenomenal experience to have gone through in someone’s life to see a natural disaster, to see a community come together,” Schultz said.
The Colorado National Guard was called in and used helicopters to evacuate residents in groups from the area.
Rebuilding work in the town is now nearly completed now, and a house that sits next to the creek which was ruined will soon be razed. It’s one of the last physical reminders of the destruction caused by the flooding.
One thing that can’t be brought back is the loss of resident Joey Howlett. He died in a mudslide during the flooding. It cascaded down on his home in the middle of the night.
“The good thing is that he probably never knew that it happened. I think the other thing is that it probably saved a lot of lives because it happened in the middle of the night at 11:30,” said former Jamestown mayor Tara Schoedinger. “It got all of us out of bed.”
Howlett was laid to rest at the town cemetery with the things he loved, including plastic flamingos, by his side. He was one of the 10 people who were killed during the floods.