Tag Archives: great flood

Geo-tagged Images of the 1913 Flood

I recently wrapped up a project at work that I’ve been working on for a few weeks now: geo-tagging images of the 1913 Flood in Dayton, Ohio, using images on the Dayton Metro Library’s Flickr and a web site called GeoSlideShow, which creates the maps from geo-tagged images on Flickr.

There are two maps:

  • 1913 Flood “During” – This map shows images when the city was actually flooded.
  • 1913 Flood “After” – Images on this map show the aftermath and clean-up in the city, including debris, mud, dead horses, crumbled buildings, and ruins from fires that broke out.

I am very excited about having completed this project, because I think it is a great visual aid to understanding the flood and its history. It’s one thing to look at several (or in this case, hundreds) of photos of the flood and think, “Oh, how awful.” I think it’s more helpful to be able to contextualize those images in geographic space. Marking the photo’s location on a current map can help people understand, because they may be able to picture what’s there now or perhaps realize that maybe they drive by that spot every day and that in 1913 it was under water!

Please note: The Dayton Metro Library has over 400 photos and postcards of the 1913 flood. I was not able to geo-tag all of them, so not every image is shown on these maps. If I could not pinpoint the exact location of an image (or approximate within about 1 city block), I did not geo-tag it, so it will not appear on these maps. (And let me tell you, it was a fun challenge trying to figure out the location of the image, based on descriptions and businesses shown in the picture!)

All of the Dayton Metro Library’s 1913 flood pictures can be seen on Flickr, as well as in the library’s digital collections.

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Remembering the 1913 Flood

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:

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: