TO: Farmington Town Council Members
FROM: Chris Horton, Prof. of Art, U. Hartford, ret.
David Brooks, former VP, Chas. P. House Co.

We would like to propose to the town of Farmington that for a period of time (1 Month?) around the August 19, 2005 anniversary of the great flood which devastated parts of Farmington, and Unionville in particular, that this event be marked in visible ways.

Most previous markers of the flood’s crest and extent have disappeared from the area; we suggest that more aesthetic markers be designed and installed permanently in public locations, and in private venues, where merchants or other institutions might wish to have such a reminder. (See suggested designs – although this could become an open competition.)

Such a powerful and important event which reshaped many lives and permanently altered the local land and townscapes deserves to be more lastingly present and reflected upon.

So, we are suggesting two kinds of markings for this occasion: permanent and temporary. Whatever other events may be planned, the inscription of water levels and extent in the town of Farmington will give residents and visitors a brief and striking reminder of the ongoing power of nature, and human population’s resistance and accommodations to these forces.

Our specific proposals for markings do not necessarily preclude others if additional discussion and planning evolve, especially concerning the practicalities, cost and appearance of the installations.

Road Markings: On all road surfaces which were below flood level, blue lines will be painted (with water soluble paint) in the center strip between all existing yellow lines, creating a dramatic contrast, while not interfering with the traffic information function of the existing yellow lines. (Blue traffic tape could also be employed) The scope of this marking would total about 10? Miles) All areas covered by the flood could be perceived by drivers and pedestrians. If midroad markings were not allowed or too difficult to install, perhaps blue roadside lines could be used. At the least, places where one enters the flood zone from various routes could be marked on the streets.

Crest Markings: Telephone Poles (See enclosed illustrations). Particularly on all or most telephone poles, blue tape, such as theatrical, “gaffer’s tape” 2 inches wide would encircle all poles at the surveyed (but always approximate crest height - since there was much variation in the landscape, bridges, buildings and currents caused by them). Still, accuracy is less important than a comprehensive overall effect of moving within and above and below the surface level of the flood waters. The extent of the telephone markings will make this clear and dramatic for all pedestrian and vehicular traffic in ways more traditional single flood stage markers do not.

Crest Markings: On Buildings and other Structures (See enclosed illustrations). On public buildings, with approval, on private buildings and other structures with agreement and support of appropriate owners or caretakers: again, “gaffer’s” tape, blue, 2 inches wide would be used, in dashed patterns across wall surfaces of buildings, proportioned to architectural details; and at approximate, measured surveyed height of the flood crest.

We view this proposal to be as much an artistic and environmental project as an historic and memorializing one, to bring into contemporary awareness, water, floods, the presence of nature and its interaction with ongoing human development of the environment.