Sunday, January 6, 2013

Happy 1913 Centennial Year!

2013 is the centennial of the great 1913 Easter storm system, which brought what one book titled 'Our National Calamity'—the nation's most widespread natural disaster. Here is a brief chronology of some centennial exhibits and events around Indiana and Ohio planned through March.

Events commemorating the Great Easter 1913 natural disaster are already under way! They include a theatrical musical, museum exhibits, walking tours and hikes, reenactments, lectures. Please contact the sources listed for more information (unless you have questions specifically about the talks I will be giving). As some events have not yet been announced, and others are being planned in April or later, I will post periodic updates. If you wish your event to be listed, please send information about it to me at . Announcements received by January 31 will be included in the first update scheduled for February 3. All the events look fascinating—let me know what especially inspires you about one you attend!


In progress now. Noblesville. Exhibit of eight original photographs commemorating the 1913 flood in Noblesville, which is on the White River, from three different collections in the HamiltonEast Public Library (One Library Plaza, Noblesville, 46060).
Loaded freight train was not massive enough to hold a bridge in place against the torrential floodwaters of the White River in Noblesville, Indiana, on March 26, 1913. Photo (courtesy of the Joe Roberts Collection) is one of eight on display now through April at the Hamilton East Public Library in Noblesville.
The exhibit “The Great Flood of 1913,” to be displayed in the Indiana Room through April, also includes newspaper headlines and enlarged copies of local newspaper articles. For more information, e-mail the Indiana Room or call 330-770-3206. The 1913 flood is still the flood of record in Noblesville.

March 26 (Tuesday). Indianapolis. Opening of the Indiana Historical Society's ninth You Are There experience, a special exhibit "1913: A City Under Water" commemorating the Great Flood of 1913, and addressing the environmental effects of local urban flooding. Exhibit is a collaboration of the Indiana Historical Society with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other organizations. More information appears at "Thinking About OurRelationship with Water" on the IHS blog. Hours, admission, and other information is at .

In progress now. Hamilton. Exhibit "The Destruction of Industrial Hamilton During the 1913 Flood," Heritage Hall Museum, 20 High Street. Running through April. Hours and other information appears on the website for the Heritage Hall MuseumSee also "Photos telldramatic story of 1913 flood" and "Work continues on 1913Flood commemoration."

January 8 (Tuesday). Hamilton: At 2:00 PM. Jim Blount, Hamilton Historian, presents a talk "Flood Warning! Was Hamilton Prepared for the 1913 Disaster?" Hamilton Lane Library, 300 North Third Street. Part of the Great Miami River Flood of 1913 Centennial events.
January 12, 19, 26 (Saturdays). Columbus. At 1:00 PM and 3:00 PM. “All is Gone and Swept Away! The 1913 Flood.” Harriet Merriman of Westerville portrays a woman who survived the flood. 30-minute presentation. Echoes In Time Theatre. Ohio History Center, 800 E. 17th Ave. Columbus, OH 43211; (614) 297-2300 or 800.686.6124. Free with Ohio History Center museumadmission.

January 24–February 10. Dayton. Wright State University Department of Theatre performs a three-week run of the play 1913 The Great Dayton Flood in the newly renovated Robert & Elaine Stein auditorium of the Creative Arts Center (3640 Colonel Glen Highway, Dayton, 45435). The play, by W. Stuart McDowell and Timothy Nevits, was inspired by the book A Time of Terror: The Great Dayton Flood by Allan W. Eckert. It adds an all-new musical score composed by Michael and Sandy Bashaw, with recorded narration by Martin Sheen, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. For performance times, ticket prices, and other information, contact the Wright State Theatre box office at 937-775-2500 or Cynthia Reis at . See also “Award-winning flood drama to return.” 
February 25 (Monday). Columbus. At 9:00 A.M., science journalist and historian Trudy E. Bell, M.A., is guest speaker on an aspect of the 1913 flood in Ohio in relation to soil and water conservation [exact title still to be determined] at the 70th Annual meeting of the of the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (OFSWCD). The whole meeting, which runs Feb. 24-26, has the theme “70 Years of Conservation: Events that Shaped Our Future” and requires advance registration.  
March 1, 8, 15, 22, and (Fridays). Dayton. At 7:00 PM every Friday in March, Leon Bey of Gem City Walking Tours conducts “The Great Dayton Flood Walk.” Reservations are required; for ticket information, contact Bey or call (937)274-4749. For background about Bey, see "Ghosts in Dayton? tour guide tells where they are." 

March 1–May 4. Hamilton. A two-month series of events for Great Miami River Flood of 1913 Centennial is cosponsored by the city of Hamilton, the Michael J. Colligan History Project, Miami University Hamilton's Downtown Center, the Butler County Historical Society, Lane Libraries, Heritage Hall, the Fitton Center for the Creative Arts, and other local organizations. For more information, contact Curtis W. Ellison, Michael J. Colligan History Project, at (513) 461-1131 or download the latest schedule of events. Individual events are listed below.

March 5 (Tuesday). Hamilton. At 7:00 PM, science journalist and historian Trudy E. Bell, M.A., presents a talk "Ohio's Greatest Weather Disaster: The 1913 Flood in Hamilton and Beyond," at the Harry T. Wilks Conference Center, Miami University Hamilton, 1601 University Blvd. Part of the Great Miami River Flood of 1913 Centennial events.
March 10–25. Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP) will join other organizations in Ohio and Indiana to commemorate the Great Flood of 1913. Individual programs are listed below. Details and directions are printed in CVNP’s Spring 2013 Program, soon to be posted. See also .

March 10 (Sunday). CVNP, Rockside. At 11:00 A.M., a special excursion of the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad departs for the onboard program “The Great Flood of 1913.” Meet at Rockside Station, 11:00 A.M. Two-hour round trip is $12.00 per person aged 3 and older. Advance registration required.
March 12 (Tuesday). Hamilton. At 2:00 PM. Jim Blount, Hamilton Historian, presents a talk "Hamilton in Crisis: Who Came to the City's rescue after the March 1913 Flood?" Hamilton Lane Library, 300 North Third Street. Part of the Great Miami River Flood of 1913 Centennial events.

March 16 (Saturday). CVNP, Boston. At 9:00 A.M., “Flooding Boston,” a 90-minute, two-mile naturalist-guided hike along road and trail to explore stories of Boston and the devastating 1913 flood. For details and registration, call 330-657-2299.
March 22 (Friday). CVNP, Peninsula. Monthly Lyceum Lecture with a special start time of 8:00 PM: science journalist and historian Trudy E. Bell, M.A., presents "The Great Easter 1913 Flood: Ohio's Worst Natural Disaster—and Cleveland as First Responder."  Preceded by “Dinner in the Valley: Feast Before the Flood,” at 6:00 PM, which will feature costumed historical reenactors plus a chef discussing local foods people in 1913 might have eaten. Both at Happy Days Lodge. Lyceum lecture alone, $6 adults, $3 children 3-12. Dinner plus lecture $34 adults, $7 children 5-12. Reservations taken through March 18. For lecture For pricing and reservations, call 330-657-2909, x100 (lecture), 330-657-2796 x121 (dinner and lecture); or visit

March 22 (Friday). Columbus. The 17th annual Severe Weather Symposium of the Meteorology Club at The Ohio State University will be themed around the Great Easter 1913 Flood. Details will be posted.
March 23 (Saturday). Peninsula. “Soup’s On, Waters Are Rising!” At 11:00 A.M., come to the Ohio & Erie Canalway, hear costumed re-enactors tell true tales from Ohio’s greatest natural disaster, then stay for homemade soups and museum tours. In partnership with Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Program 11:00–11:30 A.M., lunch and tours 11:30 A.M.–2:00 P.M. G.A.R. Hall Museum, 1785 Main Street , Peninsula, 44264; (330) 657-2528. Fee and registration required.

March 23 (Saturday). Dayton. Opening of a new permanent exhibit on the Great Flood of 1913 on the grounds of Carillon Historical Park by Dayton History. the exhibit will provide a permanent home on display for hundreds of artifacts from the 1913 flood and recovery efforts.  See "Plans to commemorate the 100th anniversary of region's greatest catastrophe." Dayton History is Montgomery County's official historical organization, consisting of the Archive Center, Carillon Historical Park, Hawthorn Hill, Memorial Hall, Patterson Homestead, Paul Laurence Dunbar State Memorial, and the Old Court House). Carillon Historical Park is at 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton Ohio, 45409, (937) 293-2841.
March 23 (Saturday). Canton. Opening 100 years later to the day, the “Flood of 1913” exhibit at Sippo Lake Park/Exploration Gateway, 10:00 A.M.–2:00 PM. Exhibit tells the story of the 1913 flood through historic imagery, artifacts, and photographs. Free. For information, visit .

March 24 (Sunday). Hamilton. At 2:00 PM and 4:00, there will be a guided interpretive tour of 1913 flood sites in Hamilton. Tours will start at the Hamilton Visitors Center at High and Monument Streets. Part of the Great Miami River Flood of 1913 Centennial events.
March 25 (Monday). Akron. Metro Parks, Serving Summit Couny and the Summit County Historical Society commemorate the flood that ended the Ohio & Erie Canal era with this hike along the Ohio & Erie Canalway from Lock 4 to Lock 1. At 11:30 A.M., there will be a brief stop at the historic Richard Howe House, Lock 3. Howe was the canal’s resident engineer 1825–1832; the mansion now serves as a visitor information center. For more information, call 330-865-8065.

March 25 (Monday). Hamilton. At 12:00 noon, the City of Hamilton will have its Centennial Commemoration of the 1913 Flood at the Butler County Courthouse Gazebo, 315 High Street. City officials, speakers, Hamilton schools, and guests commemorate the 1913 Flood in Hamilton on the 100th anniversary of the high-water date.
March 26 (Tuesday). Hamilton. At 7:00 PM. Jim Blount, Hamilton Historian, will present a talk "The Dam Lie That Saved Lives: Hamilton Family Stories of the 1913 Flood." Program also features images from the Rob Wile Collection, Jack Armstrong Collection, and Eckert Family Collection of 1913 Flood Postcards, Photographs and Memorabilia. Part of the Great Miami River Flood of 1913 Centennial events.

March 30 (Saturday). Hamilton. At 2:00 PM and 4:00, there will be a guided interpretive tour of 1913 flood sites in Hamilton. Tours will start at the Hamilton Visitors Center at High and Monument Streets. Part of the Great Miami River Flood of 1913 Centennial events.

March 18–22: This year's annual Flood Safety Awareness Week of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Useful statistics and training materials are at .

©2012–2013 Trudy E. Bell. For permission to reprint or use, contact Trudy E. Bell at

Next time: The 1913 Flood extended throughout the Mid-Atlantic... Saving Albany’s Water


  1. Trudy,

    Here is our updated event description for Soup's On, 3/23/13:

    Warm up with a tasty selection of over a dozen homemade soups at our second annual "Soup's On!" event at the G.A.R. Hall on Saturday, March 23, 2013 from 11 am - 2 pm. Enjoy a special slideshow about the 100th anniversary of the Flood of 1913 during lunch. Come and be a part of this tradition to beat the winter chill on Peninsula's Cabin Fever Day!


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