“With a report like the muffled roar of a cannon and which was heard a long distance the old mill of the Peninsular Paper Company on the east side of the river went out last evening about 7 o’clock,” reported the March 23, 1904 Ypsilanti Daily Press, “and in a jiffy there was little left to mark the place where it had been for so many years. This was really the first thing that made the people realize the fearful force of the raging waters in the Huron River and those who had buildings along its banks hastened to the scene.” Peninsular paper mill manager Daniel Quirk Jr. worked all night, said the paper, to surround the mill with berms hastily made of piled ashes.

One of the most disastrous and extensive floods in the southern Lower Peninsula was in March 1904. Runoff resulting from rainfall during March 24-27 was compounded by snowpack and frozen soils. The rain was caused by a frontal system that moved landward from Lake Michigan. Much of the snowfall during the winter had compacted and formed an ice layer at the ground surface.

  • Detroit Free Press, Mar 24, 1904 [1]

Ypsilanti barely escaped a serious disaster last night and today, through the flood of the Huron river.