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Society's historic books restored after flood The California Historical Society reopened last week after a December flood damaged more than 1,500 antique and historic books and its building. A car hit a fire hydrant in front of the society's Mission Street building after midnight Dec. 19, causing a geyser several stories high and a flood that seeped through the front doors into the building. Water soaked through the hardwood floors and into the book vault below, damaging the books.