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AND THROUGH THE BLACK NIGHT OF TERROR

The 1913 Flood in the Northern Miami Valley

 

COMMEMORATING THE 100th ANNIVERSARY
OF THE 1913 FLOOD
IN THE FIVE COUNTIES OF THE NORTHERN MIAMI VALLEY

It was about 10 p.m. on March 24, 1913 when the levee gave way at Piqua and the worst flood ever recorded in the Miami Valley and Ohio began.  What has never been told is the story of the flood events in the five county region north of Dayton.

After days of torrential storms the waters rose to depths never before seen. Creeks and streams became raging rivers, scouring the land.  Rivers suddenly rose and at places were measured over a mile wide. Sixty-five people drowned in the Northern Miami Valley, hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed, the homeless were counted in the thousands. In days before government intervention., local communities rallied to the aid of their less fortunate neighbors.  All commercial transportation was halted, communications were cut off. It was difficult to impossible to travel any country road.

For six agonizing days people struggled to survive across an entire region.  For many trapped by the flood, they wondered whether they would survive to see another sunrise.  For some their fate was sealed, they rode roof-tops to a watery grave, slammed into a bridge or worse, toppled from a rescue boat that capsized in overpowering currents.  Three rescuers gave their lives. 

Many of those trapped, and were later rescued, spent from one to three days outside in near freezing temperatures, in the rain with no food and were near exhaustion when rescued.

The towns of Piqua, Troy, New Harrison, Greenville and West Liberty witnessed deaths due to the violent nature of the flood waters.  Railroad bridges were washed out, one collapsed with a passenger train on it, another went down with a work train crossing it and twenty men went into seething waters, others simply collapsed as the angry waters lashed at them.  Road bridges took a major hit across the entire region. Almost every power plant in the region was either shut down by the flood or was taking water from stream flooding, gas lines and water lies broke like straws,

Less flooded communities in the region quickly responded with aid. In acts of selfless generosity, house wives baked loaves of bread, pantries and cellars were nearly emptied for the aid of total strangers. Bags of potatoes, flour lard and winter fruits were sent Farmers butchered beef, swine and chickens to send meat into the flooded districts. Clothes were gathered from closets, church sewing circles sat down to make new clothes, shoes were gathered and it was loaded into railroad box cars with the best wishes of the community and Godís Speed to the sufferers of the flood.

The 1913 flood was the most trying event in Ohio history!

SUMMARY OF DAMAGE AND DESTRUCTION IN THE NORTHERN MIAMI VALLEY

DEAD --  65
INJURED -- Over 27
HOMELESS -- Over 5,000
HOMES DAMAGED OR DESTROYED -- Over 1,000
HIGHWAY BRIDGES DAMAGED OR DESTROYED -- Over 264
RAILWAY BRIDGES DAMAGED OR DESTROYED -- Over 15
STRANDED PASSENGER TRAINS -- 10
DAMAGED OR DESTROYED ROADWAYS -- Hundreds of miles
LOSS OF ELECTRIC -- 80% Estimated
In addition there was a loss of municipal water, gas, no mail, most telephones and telegraph cut off.

Read much more in, AND THROUGH THE BLACK NIGHT OF TERROR.

CLICK HERE TO READ SELECTED PAGES

Copyright (c) Scott D. Trostel, 2012

 

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