While not as serious as the 1892 flood, this flood showed how susceptible the Floyd River was to sudden rain storms. On September 18-19 a torrential rain dropped over seven inches of rain on the Sheldon, Iowa area, which is part of the drainage basin for the Floyd.
Spring of the year 1892 came like many before. The Missouri and the Floyd Rivers were swollen but seemed to be under control. Unlike previous years, it had been raining steadily for the past three weeks. May 16 had been a day of constant downpour of rain. On May 17, in the evening, the Floyd began to rise, but no one appeared concerned.
Fires have destroyed many Sioux City buildings over the years. In the years before electricity, candles and gas lights were a source of flame. The early fire departments were not equipped to stop a large blaze and many historic structures burned to the ground.
Baker and Bissel Fire
February 8, 1891
The Pelletier Fire was Sioux City's worst fire in terms of property damage. Sometimes called "the great fire", the inferno gutted more than two entire blocks of downtown Sioux City.
The fire started in the Pelletier Department Store, located where the Badgerow Building now stands. It was the evening of December 23, 1904. Pretty paper Christmas decorations hung everywhere and the store was filled with shoppers. In the crowded basement, a salesman prepared to demonstrate some mechanical toys powered by a small steam engine. The salesman struck a match to light the engine. Horrified onlookers watched as the head of the match flew off and landed in a "snowdrift" of white cotton. In an instant, the cotton caught fire and the flames ignited hanging paper streamers. Fire Chief George Kelly happened to be in the area at the time. He noticed the wisp of smoke curling up from the basement. Immediately, he called in the alarm. The firemen were there in minutes, but the building was already ablaze. Soon the six-story Massachusetts Building was engulfed in flames.