Arthur P. Morgan

If you’ve explored Riverscape Metropark, you have probably seen the sculpture representing the Hydraulic Jump Fountain, that is part of the Dayton Inventors Riverwalk. The Hydraulic Jump Fountain was part of the dry dam system developed by Morgan after the 1913 Flood.

 

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Hydraulic Jump Fountain

Morgan was born in Cincinnati in 1878 and moved with his family to Minnesota as a child. After travelling through the territories for years, Morgan finally settled in Colorado long enough to complete his formal education before returning home to join his father’s surveying business, which became Morgan & Morgan. It was while working with his father that Morgan decided to pursue the filed of Water Control – an undeveloped field he could establish himself in.

In 1904, at the age of 26, Morgan volunteered to draft statewide standards for drainage control for the state of Minnesota. After a year, the state engineering society accepted his proposals and they were written into law, and Morgan was offered the position of State Engineer, which he declined. He was then hired by the Department of Agriculture’s Office of Drainage Investigation. In 1910, after leaving his government position, Morgan established the Morgan Engineering Company in Memphis, Tennessee.

After the 1913 Flood devastated Dayton, and John H. Patterson pushed to create a flood prevention program. Colonel Edward Deeds became the leader of the project, and he hired Arthur P. Morgan as the Head of Engineering for the Miami Conservancy District. Morgan developed the concept of the dry dam, which would help control water upstream, instead of creating lakes. On January 27th, 1918, work began to build the Huffman Dam. This was the first of five dams that surround Dayton (Germantown, Englewood, Lockington, Taylorsville and Huffman), and to this day they have never spilled a single drop.

Later in life, Morgan became the president of Antioch College in Yellow Springs. Colonel Edward Deeds offered to serve on the board, but Morgan turned him away. When this decision was question, Morgan said, “that man ends up running everything he is connected with and I don’t want him running Antioch.

Morgan died in 1975, at the age of 97. His ashes are interred at the edge of Glen Helen Nature Preserve, beneath a granite boulder known as the Morgan Stone.

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