Memories of the Floods of 1993 – 20 years later

Valley Junction Flooding

Valley Junction Flooding in 1993 (Photo courtesy of the Historic Valley Junction Foundation)

Saturday, July 10, 1993, is a day Rick Mosley will remember forever.  He was co-owner of a hair salon in West Des Moines’ oldest neighborhood, Valley Junction, where he prepared to watch water from record rainfall engulf his facility.  While some business owners would use this as an excuse to give up, it was a day that motivated Rick to take the leap to rebuild in Valley Junction by opening his own signature salon – Rick Mosley Hair.

The next 24 hours were a bit of a blur.  While Rick only missed one day of cutting hair, it wasn’t really a missed day of work.  Before the water started pouring in, he rented a U-Haul truck – possibly the last one left in town – and set off to play defense.

Rick spent the day loading every piece of equipment and furniture that wasn’t attached to the floor into the rental truck and relocating it to a space he rented from a friend just a few miles away.  In this temporary location, he set up shop with no running water, using 39-gallon containers and garden sprayers from Sam’s Club to rinse hair in order to keep his commitments to clients.

When the day finally concluded and Rick was exhausted and craving a hot shower, he arrived at home to find no running water.  A drive to Camp Dodge was his only option for cleaning up before returning to work the next morning, so he waited in line for nearly an hour for an ice-cold shower.

The next morning, he rented a canoe to assess the damage.  He didn’t let the National Guard, which was on post to prevent looting, come between him and his dreams.  He found a way around the barricades to discover knee-deep water, an abundance of sludge, destroyed windows, a stench in the air, and broken dreams.

Rebuilding the salon and preparing to launch Rick Mosley Hair took two full months.  The bottom four feet of drywall had to be replaced, as did all trim and doors.  It was a big undertaking, while running his business out of a remote location and continuing to focus on what was most important – serving his customers and training his staff.

This year marks 20 years since the flooding, and 20 years of Rick Mosley Hair.  Even though the past 10 years have been in our Anglo Building a bit further west, we remain thankful for Rick’s determination to rise up during times of despair.  While we can’t predict what our next 20 years will bring, we are appreciative of the support this community and our customers have provided as our business has grown, thrived, and innovated the way hair is done in Central Iowa.

Do you have stories from 1993 that you want to share?  If so, please comment below, post them on our Facebook page, or e-mail them to


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