On Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913, the rain started pouring down all over Ohio. The city of Dayton, Ohio, nestled right next to the Great Miami River, was in for some serious trouble. The levee failed by March 25, and by the early hours of March 26, there was 20+ feet of water in downtown. By the time the waters receded, 200+ people and 3,000+ animals were dead. Many homes, buildings, and bridges had been destroyed.
For more images/info on the 1913 flood in Dayton, check out the following:
- 1913 Flood postcards from the Dayton Metro Library on our digital images site, as well as on Flickr;
- 1913 Flood photographs on the Dayton Metro Library digital images site;
- MS-016 – 1913 Flood Collection finding aid, listing 1913 Flood materials available at the Dayton Metro Library;
- MS-296 – 1913 Dayton Flood Oral Histories collection finding aid of materials available at the Wright State University Special Collections and Archives;
- free full-text 1913 flood materials at Dayton History Books Online.
But on the bright side, this horrible disaster was the impetus for Daytonians to say “never again” and take action. They began raising money to construct what would become the Miami Conservancy District, a system of dams designed to control the flow of water and thereby curtail future floods. This project got underway in 1918 and was mostly complete by 1922. (Check out the dam construction photos on the MCD web site.) The Miami Conservancy District has been keeping Dayton safe from floodwaters ever since…
Don’t forget: Dayton wasn’t the only place that flooded in 1913. (Just like Portsmouth wasn’t the only place flooded in 1937!) Just something to keep in mind – those were large regional floods! Check out some of these other resources pertaining to the 1913 flood:
- March 23-27, 1913 Statewide Flood online exhibit by Ohio Historical Society
- 1913 Flood photos from across the state on Ohio Memory;
- 1913 Flood in Portsmouth, online photo gallery by the Portsmouth Public Library;
- 1913 Flood in Columbus, postcards from the Columbus Metropolitan Library digital collections;
- 1913 Flood Flickr group – a little something I started so we can all share our 1913 flood photos; there are quite a few from the Ohio County (WV) Public Library, in addition to the Dayton postcards and a few other miscellaneous items. If you have any photos to share, we’d love to have them added to the group! I am hoping this group will pick up even more, as we get closer to the 100th anniversary in 2 years.