Bottles float in the lingering pools of muddy water in Riccardo's Ristorante in San Anselmo, as architect Bill O'Callaghan recalls the chaotic scene he witnessed earlier that morning when he encountered rushing flood waters wreaking havock. O'Callaghan office is next to Riccardo's in The Courtyard Building where water levels reached nearly three feet in depth.
Floodwaters filled buildings in San Anselmo's entire business district with 2 to 5 feet of water on the last day of 2005. The churning river water left a thick coating of brown mud on everything it touched, and in some cases even burst out store fronts.
City contractors and volunteers worked fast to keep up with merchants as they gutted stores of damaged merchandise and destroyed furnishings. Despite the grim devastation, a flood of support from families, friends, customers and other volunteers made for a positive mood as merchants expressed their determination to rebuild and reopen.