Niota, Illinois

Map of the local area

Niota, Illinois was another town that received heavy damage during the flood. We were led by Kenneth Upton. Niota is a retirement town, most of the homes were built in the early 1900's and are all paid for. There are generations of families here and everyone knew everybody. But now there is talk about a buyout and relocation of the town (cost of $8.5 million) by FEMA. If they did that, the new town against the bluff would need city streets, lights, and sewer. Currently the Niota is a village, but to make the move they would have to become an incorporated town with taxable means. There general feeling is to just stay put. This is where everyone grew up, and although they know they might get flooded again, they like it here.

The waters started coming in from the east at 6:15 in the evening they reached the top level by 9:30 the next morning. Then with the fluxuation of the river the level inside would raise and drop. But at one time, the water was higher on the landside of the levee than the riverside by about 3 feet because the water was trapped on the landside of the levee. Although the town looks flat, the topography gently slopes up to the bluffs and the water was not to the edges of the bluffs.

The Fort Madsion bridge sustained a lot of damage, washing out of the piers that hold up the bridge.


Niota grain elevator along side the river. Note the mud lines on the house fronts.


Kenneth Upton tells story of Niota during our visit. Note mud line on bottom of boat to the right of the group.


Close-up of boat with mud line. Boat is used as advertisement for Evinrude Motors and was at that height before the flood.


Kenneth Upton talks about fighting to keep the levee repaired.

"...it is a mind boggling experience, fighting crawdaddies and levee boils at the same time"


Mud line on storage shed.


Mud line across several houses.


Mud lines across front of house indicating rising and falling levels of water during flood event.


Mud lines on house and storage buildings. Mississippi River and levee is just to the left of picture. Diagonal mud line on small overturned building to the right indicates that building was floating during most of flood event.


Mud lines on two-story house.


Mud deposits on and around car.