If you were standing right here at about 10 pm July 23, 1912, you would have seen the signs of the coming disaster that would be one of the most infamous evenings in the history of the Wisconsin River. By the time the swell was visible from this point, the flood had already swept down the Wisconsin River through Merrill and Brokaw. And soon it would hit Wausau and other communities downriver. Over the next few hours, the raging waters of the river caused sudden and tremendous damage. Even as courageous men went out into the squall to do what they could against the dark storm raging all around them, the river (and the debris it was collecting along its way) continued to cause havoc as it went. Most concerning were the thousands of logs pulled from the sawmill in Brokaw. In Wausau, a group of men managed to move a number of train cars full of logs onto the railroad bridge where the extra weight kept it from washing away in the night. Other bridges along the river were not so lucky. Most businesses and homes along the river had some water damage and flooding, ruining possessions and commercial goods. But the most explosive moment of the evening was probably when the floodwaters reached Mr. Paff’s warehouse, where he was storing a shipment of lime. The resulting chemical reaction caused the building to catch fire, even as the rainstorm raged and the waters swept so much away Aftermath The following morning, people emerged from their homes to find the storm had subsided and the sun had come out. The river was still raging and miraculously the only human death occurred when a local farmer tried to cross the fast-flowing stream to deliver a shipment of milk. Scenes of the damage done over the previous night were well documented in photos. Adjusted for the number of cameras at the time, July 24, 1912, was almost certainly the most photographed day in Wausau’s history. By the late 20th Century, management of the river volumes and cooperation of local dam operators had mitigated the chance of this sort of catastrophic flood happening again. Vivid memories remained, though, for those who lived through the destructive floods of the era.