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I recently read a 1880's Project Gutenberg story of a Englishman who rode a pennyfarthing bicycle around the world, starting in San Francisco.
His pre-levee descriptions of passing through what was then known as Davisville really strike home. His only option was to ride the railroad trellis that spanned the naturally flooded area.
This windmill atop the levee did not exist in his story. The town in which I live most likely did not exist then, either.
When this levee does break, the 10s of thousands of new housing units a couple miles to the East will not have happy owners.