The City of New London is susceptible to flooding from both the Wolf and Embarrass Rivers. Historical accounts indicate that the 1888, 1912, 1922, 1952, 1960, and the 1973 floods were the most serious on the Wolf River. The 1973 flood, with a discharge of 14,000 cfs, resulted in extensive damage within the community.
Press Republican, New London, Wisconsin, 13 April 1922 – “Highest water in history. Crest reached Thursday. Thousands of dollars of damage done in New London. Millions in Wolf and Embarrass Valleys. Green Bay and Western tracks washed out. Pavements caved in. From Saturday night on, when the Embarrass first started overflowing across Shawano Street, the volume of water increased rapidly until Sunday evening when it had reached the depth of about 18 inches on this street near the Wolf River. At this writing Wednesday, there is over three feet of water on some sections of the thoroughfare. The Green Bay and Western Railroad sustained a heavy loss in washout. A strip of road covering three miles between this city and Northport is under from two to six feet of water. Most of the road, it is believed, will have to be rebuilt.” New London Press Republican, 10 April 1952 – “One of the most devastating rains in years struck the area Sunday, causing untold damage. More than an inch of rain fell within about six hours. The rain melted and carried away a heavy layer of ice and snow, bringing the river up about 3.5 feet in three days.”
New London Museum
April 1, 1998 The flooding that occurred in early April was a carryover from the excessive precipitation that fell in late March. Four locations along 3 rivers exceeded flood stage during April. The Wolf River at New London (Outagamie and Waupaca counties) also exceeded flood stage. New London peaked at 9.38 feet on April 5. The only significant inconvenience from the floods occurred along the Wolf River. In New London, a few local roads were flooded and closed for a couple of days. The city park along the banks of the river was also flooded.
Within the commercial district of the City of New London, concrete retaining walls confine the flow of the Wolf River under normal conditions. A bypass channel has been constructed to the Embarrass River between the Green Bay and Western Railroad and State Highway 54 to alleviate flooding due to the Embarrass River. 11 Historical records indicate that the discharges through this channel are a function of the Wolf River’s stage during flood conditions.