This Day in History – March 26, 1913

106 years ago, the worst flood disaster in Ohio history hit Dayton. Water flowed through the Great Miami and its tributaries at ten times its capacities. The amount of water flowing through Dayton’s river channel was equivalent to the amount of water flowing through Niagara Falls in four days.

Here are a few facts about the Great Flood of 1913:

  • There were 467 deaths recorded statewide.
  • 92 deaths were recorded in Dayton, but the National Weather Service estimates between 98 and 123.
  • After the flood, teak and mahogany from Dayton that was used to make railroad cars was found as far downriver as New Orleans.
  • The Dayton Sanitation Department reported 133,600 wagon loads of debris moved, 13,991 houses and cellars cleaned, 1,420 dead horses and 2,000 other dead animals removed.
  • The Dayton Library lost 46,000 books.
  • The flood waters caused many ruptured gas lines, which in turn caused many fires.
  • Ohio Governor James Cox called the 1913 flood “The Nation’s worst tragedy since the Civil War.”
  • President Woodrow Wilson offered to come to Ohio to do what he could to help.
  • Water rushed through the streets at speeds up to 25 MPH.
  • Before surveying the land, Israel Ludlow was warned by the Natives that this area was prone to flooding, but he ignored their warnings.

    Interesting Dayton Facts

    During one of our research sessions at the library, we found a great book, For the Love of Dayton: Life in the Miami Valley 1796-2001, that was published by the Dayton Daily News in 2001. The book chronicles the history of Dayton year-by-year in little blurbs, and there were a lot of fascinating facts that we just had to share!

    • 1803 – Colonel George Newcom became the first sheriff, serving until 1809. He took little pity on lawbreakers, lowering alleged offenders into his empty well, where they remained until trial.
    • Continue reading