Across Nebraska, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio, groups are now commemorating the centennial of the nation’s most widespread natural disaster.
Commemorate the Great Easter 1913 natual disaster in centennial events that include expert panel discussions, a theatrical musical, museum exhibits, documentary movies, walking tours and hikes, reenactments, lectures—most reflecting on what humans have (and have not!) learned in the century since. Please contact the sources listed for more information (unless you have questions specifically about the talks I personally will be giving). Note: Some events listed last month have extended their runs or updated details.
Next update is scheduled for March 3. Announcements or modifications received by Tuesday, February 26 can be included; please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
March 10 (Sunday). Omaha. At 2:00 PM, Metropolitan Community College, Fort Omaha Campus, Bldg. 22 Swanson Conference Center, a panel discussion “Extreme Weather: The 1913 Easter Sunday Tornado”, presented by Douglas CountyHistorical Society will commemorate the Great Easter Omaha Tornado.
Moderator: Mike DiGiacomo (morning show co-host on “Omaha Morning Blend”, KMTV ). Panelists: Mike Tobias (Emmy Award-winning Senior Reporter/Producer, NET Nebraska Public Television and Radio); Brian Smith (Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Weather Service Forecast Office in Valley, NE; Dennis Mihelich (retired professor of history, Creighton University and past president of both the Douglas County Historical Society and the Nebraska State Historical Society); Harl Dalstrom (professor emeritus of history at University of Nebraska, Omaha). After the panel discussion, Tobias of NET will show a 10- to 15-minute preview of his new documentary Devil Clouds: Tornadoes Strike Nebraska on the 1913 Easter tornado outbreak, which will debut on NETV on March 22, 2013 (check local listings for times). NET is also airing a series of radio and TV stories about the Omaha tornadoes in March. Douglas County Historical Society is also collaborating with the Nebraska Jewish Historical Society to publish a photographic booklet (available at the March 10th panel discussion) of the tornado’s destruction, because the path of the Omaha tornado devastated the Jewish community. Members of both organizations will receive a complimentary copy of the booklet for attending the event.
March 22 (Friday). Documentary Devil Clouds: Tornadoes Strike Nebraska on the 1913 Easter tornado outbreak will premier on NETV (Nebraska Public TV). Check local listings for times. Throughout March, NET is also airing a series of radio and TV stories about the Omaha tornadoes. Closer to the time, more information will appear on NET's website.
March 26 (Tuesday). Louisville. The first day of the Ohio River Basin Alliance annual meeting will have a session from 1:00 to 2:00 PM dedicated to “The Historic 1913 Flood,” featuring talks by Sarah Jamison (National Weather Service), Trudy E. Bell (University of California), and Manuela Johnson (Indiana Department of Homeland Security). Preliminary agenda and hotel information are at the ORBA website (special hotel convention rate is good for reservations made up to March 8).
In progress now through April 30. Noblesville. Exhibit of eight original photographs commemorating the 1913 flood in Noblesville, which is on the White River, from three different collections in the Hamilton East Public Library (One Library Plaza, Noblesville, 46060). The exhibit “The Great Flood of 1913,” displayed in the Indiana Room, also includes newspaper headlines and enlarged copies of local newspaper articles. For details, contact the Indiana Room 330-770-3206. The 1913 flood is still the flood of record in Noblesville.
March 1-April 30. West Lafayette. The West Lafayette Public Library, 208 W. Columbia, West Lafayette, will display photographs from the Tippecanoe County Historical Association’s Permanant Collection in an exhibit 100th Anniversary Commemoration of the 1913 Great Flood and Its Destruction in Tippecanoe County. The exhibit will feature narratives about the great flood in Indiana towns and across the Midwest, as the monumental spring 1913 storm system generated tornadoes and floods that devastated the industrial north from Nebraska to the Atlantic seaboard and down the Mississippi. For more information, contact Kathy Atwell, Executive Director, Tippecanoe County Historical Association, at 765-476-8411 ext. 208.
March 19 (Tuesday). West Lafayette. Talk “The Great Easter Flood of 1913: Second Only to Noah’s” by Robert Verplank, at Lafayette Rotary Noon Club. Lunch at 11:30 AM ($11.00) followed by program. Public welcome. Four Points by Sheraton, 1600 Cumberland Avenue. For more information, contact Bob Verplank.
March 23-May 25. Exhibit “Submerged: The Great 1913 Flood in Peru, Indiana” at the Miami County Museum, Ulery Annex. The exhibit will include objects and archival material from the museum’s collections and highlight stories about what caused the flood, destruction of homes and businesses, stories of rescuers and those who perished, local media coverage, community support from our neighbors, and rebuilding of the city. Come visit us and share the powerful images and stories, as well as listen to readers speak the words from 1913 flood letters. See events listed for the Miami County Museum, 51 North Broadway, Peru, IN 46970; 765-473-9183; or email email@example.com.
March 26 (Tuesday)-December 31. 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 http://www.indianahistory.org/plan-your-visit/hours-and-admission .
OHIO (Many! All over the state!)
In progress now through 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 firstname.lastname@example.org . See also “Award-winning flood dramato return.”
In progress now through February 28. Oxford. Display on the "Flood of 1913: Middletown" at the Smith Library of Regional History featuring materials from the Smith Library collection. 15 S. College Ave., Oxford, OH 45056. For details and information, call 513-523-3035.
In progress now through April. Hamilton, OH: Exhibit "The Destruction of Industrial Hamilton During the 1913 Flood," Heritage Hall Museum, 20 High Street. Hours and other information appears on the website for the Heritage Hall Museum. . See also "Photos telldramatic story of 1913 flood" and "Work continues on 1913Flood commemoration."
February 10 (Sunday). Versailles. Talk “The Story of the 1913 Flood in the Northern Miami Valley” followed by a book signing, by Scott Trostel, author of And Through The Black Night of Terror: The 1913 Flood in the Northern Miami Valley. 2:00 PM, free. Versailles Area Historical Museum, 552 S. West Street. Trostel will give additional talks and book signings at different northern Miami Valley venues on February 16, 19, 24, 28, March 12, 23, 25, 26; details about the book and events (some requiring paid admission) appear here.
February 23 (Saturday) through May 5. Dayton. The Dayton Art Institute, in its Special Exhibition Wing, will present a suite of three exhibits that commemorate the centennial of the 1913 Flood. The three are “Storm,” an exhibit of large-scale paintings by April Gornik; “Watershed,” based on the new publication by the Miami Conservancy District that contrasts historical images documenting the flood and its aftermath with Andy Snow’s contemporary photographs depicting similar views; and “Riverbank,” consisting of images and information about development along the Great Miami River. Details about the exhibit, hours, admission, and contact information appear at the DAI website.
February 25 (Monday). Columbus. At 9:00 A.M., science journalist and historian Trudy E. Bell, M.A., is opening guest speaker on “The Great Easter 1913 Flood: Ohio's Worst Natural Disaster—And Its Legacies” at the 70th Annual meeting of the of the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (OFSWCD). In part, the talk will touch on the flood’s effects on Ohio's land and water resources, their long road to recovery, and resulting laws and policies. 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 (937)274-4749. For background about Bey, see "Ghosts in Dayton? tour guide tells where they are."
March 1-31. Oxford. Display on the "Flood of 1913: Oxford" at the Smith Library of Regional History featuring materials from the Smith Library collection. 15 S. College Ave., Oxford, OH 45056. For details and information, call 513-523-3035.
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, (513) 461-1131 or download the latest schedule of events. Individual events are listed below.
March 3 (Sunday) 8 PM (repeated March 15, 9 PM). Greater Dayton area. Think TV (PBS) on Channels 14 and 16 will air its 2010 documentary Goodbye, TheLevee Has Broken: The Story of the Great Dayton Flood, produced in partnership with the Montgomery County Historical Society. Check local listings for details. Also available on DVD.
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 http://www.ohioanderiecanalway.com/Main/Pages/106.aspx.
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. See also http://www.ohioanderiecanalway.com/Main/Pages/106.aspx
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. See also http://www.ohioanderiecanalway.com/Main/Pages/106.aspx
March 20 (Wednesday). Lebanon. Harriet Foley and Elli Bambakidis will present talks in a session “Preserving Memories of the 1913 Flood in Warren and Montgomery Counties,” 7:30 PM, Warren County Genealogical Society, Phillippi Meeting Room, Otterbein Retirement Community, 585 SR741, Lebanon OH 45005. Featuring documents and artifacts from the Franklin Area Historical Society collection. Free. For more information, contact Harriet Foley 513-423-7977 or the Warren Count Genealogical Society 513-695-1144.
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). See also http://www.ohioanderiecanalway.com/Main/Pages/106.aspx
March 22 (Friday). Columbus. The afternoon session (from 2:00 to 4:00 PM) of the 17th annual Severe Weather Symposium of the Meteorology Club at The Ohio State University will be themed around “100th Anniversary of the 1913 Flood.” Five representatives from the Silver Jackets will speak: Sarah Jamison (National Weather Service, Cleveland), Christopher Thom (director, Ohio Department of Natural Resources), Steve Ferryman (Ohio Emergency Management Agency), James Noel (Ohio River Forecast Center), and Julie Dian-Reed (National Weather Service, Wilmington). The symposium, from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, will be held at Mount Hall (1050 Carmack Rd. Columbus, OH) Room 145. Registration required (bonus: the first 25 people who express interest will be able to take a tour of the on-campus Byrd Polar Research Center and its climate research).
March 23 (Saturday). Peninsula. 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 for the program “Soup’s On, Waters Are Rising!” from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM. pm. A special slideshow program about the 100th anniversary of the Flood of 1913, Ohio’s greatest natural disaster, will be shown during lunch. Fee and registration required. G.A.R. Hall Museum, 1785 Main Street , Peninsula, 44264; (330) 657-2528. See also http://www.ohioanderiecanalway.com/Main/Pages/106.aspx
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. 100 years later to the day, opening and dedication of the “Flood of 1913” exhibit 10:00 A.M.–2:00 PM. Exhibit tells the story of the 1913 flood through historic imagery, artifacts, and photographs. Exhibit will run through December 31. Free. Canalway Center, Sippo Lake Park/Exploration Gateway, 5712 12th Street NW, Canton, OH 44708. See also http://www.ohioanderiecanalway.com/Main/Pages/106.aspx
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 the "Akron History Hike: The Flood of 1913" 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 . See also and .
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. Free. Part of the Great Miami River Flood of 1913 Centennial events.
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 28 (Thursday). Oxford. At 7:00 PM, Curtis W. Ellison and others will present a program "Towns on the Tributaries in the 1913 Flood" at the Smith Library of Regional History. While many photographs were taken of damage to big cities, this program will offer a broader perspective on the impact of the flood on smaller communities. 15 S. College Ave., Oxford, OH 45056. For details and information, call 513-523-303
March 30 (Saturday). Franklin. From 2:00 to 5:00 PM, the Harding Museum (302 Park Ave., Franklin, OH 45005) will host a special exhibit opening free to all visitors to commemorate the centennial of the 1913 flood. The Great 1913 Flood Exhibit of the Franklin Area Historical Society features artifacts and documents in the FAHS’s extensive 1913 flood collection. The items will be displayed on the first floor of the Harding Museum, which itself was flooded in 1913. Exhibit opening is free. Note: From April 7 through October 27, the exhibit will also be available for viewing on Sunday afternoons from 2:00 to 5:00 PM at the regular admission fee of $3 per adult and $1 per child. For more information, see the FAHS website or leave a message at the FAHS (937-746-8295) or contact Mary Nenninger 937-743-5832.
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.
April 1-30. Oxford. Display on the "Flood of 1913: Dayton" at the Smith Library of RegionalHistory featuring materials from the Smith Library collection. 15 S. College Ave., Oxford, OH 45056. For details and information, call 513-523-3035.
April 6 (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.
April 8 (Monday). Franklin. At 6:30 PM, Robert C. Bowman, President of the Franklin Area Historical Society, will present a talk “Consequences of the 1913 Flood on Franklin City, Carlisle, and Chautauqua,” at the Franklin Public Library, 44 E. 4th Street, Franklin, OH 45005. Illustrated talk will include images from photographs and postcards held in archives of the Franklin Area Historical Society. Free. For more information, see the FAHS website or leave a message at the FAHS (937-746-8295) or contact Robert C. Bowman at 937-903-4350.
April 9 (Tuesday). Hamilton. At 2:00 PM. Jim Blount, Hamilton Historian, will present a talk "Remember the Promises We Made in the Attic! Obstacles to Preventing Another 1913 Flood" Hamilton Lane Library, 300 North Third Street. Part of the Great Miami River Flood of 1913 Centennial events.
April 9 (Tuesday). Hamilton. At 7:00 PM, "A Talk with Tom Rentschler" on the Achievements and Legacies of the Miami Conservancy District, at the Wilks Center, Miami University Hamilton, 1601 University Blvd. Part of the Great Miami River Flood of 1913 Centennial events.
April 24 (Wednesday). Rocky River. At 7:30 AM (yes, that’s 7:30 in the morning), at the Lakewood–Rocky River Sunrise Rotary Club, Trudy E. Bell, M.A. will present a talk “The Great Easter 1913 Tornadoes and Flood: How Rotary Discovered Its Humanitarian Mission.” In 1913, Rotary, then a fledgling business service organization, was only five years old. But how Rotarians everywhere instantly responded to the devastatingtragedy transformed the whole meaning of service. At the Don Umerley Civic Center, 21016 Hilliard Blvd., Rocky River, OH 44116. Visitors welcome. Come early for a light breakfast ($5.00) preceding the talk. Directions are on the Rotary Club’s website.
NATIONWIDE (or accessible nationwide)
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 here.
Indianapolis NOAA website on the 1913 flood, is focusing on Indiana, with dramatic photographs along with maps and data useful for any local organizations planning events.
The Miami Conservancy District in southwest Ohio, although not planning any commemorative events itself, has launched a new website http://1913flood.com/ to publicize 1913 centennial events in the region. The MCD also plans to release a centennial book A Flood of Memories in March.
The Silver Jackets is a consortium of Federal and State agencies devoted to reducing the risk of flooding and other natural disasters as well as enhancing response and recovery efforts--in part by raising public awareness. Collaborating agencies include the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NOAA, and agencies in 33 states. Among other programs, the Silver Jackets are using the centennial of the 1913 flood to raise public awareness, including highlighting the effect of the natural disaster in different communities. It series of web pages--click the tab "Historical Info" under "The Great Flood of 1913: 100 Years Later" at --summarize the multistate storm system with riveting quotes and photos. The Silver Jackets also publish a newsletter and other documents. In the January 2013 newsletter, the article "The Great Flood of 1913 Not to Be Forgotten" on pages 8 and 9 discuss some of the Silver Jacket's outreach plans for commemorating the 1913 centennial. More about the Silver Jackets outreach events appear in the presentation by Sarah Jamison, NOAA.
Next time: Tragedy at the Circus
CAPTIONS AND CREDITS FOR IMAGES ABOVE (after the first one)
1913 flood in Lafayette, Indiana; Tippecanoe County Historical Association
1913 flood in Peru, Indiana; Miami County Museum
Wright State University poster for play 1913 The Great Dayton Flood
One of the paintings to be featured in the Dayton Art Institute exhibit "Storm, Watershed, Riverbank"
DVD cover for ThinkTV 2010 documentary "Goodbye, The Levee Has Broken"
Trudy E. Bell with Huffman Dam built by the Miami Conservancy District
1913 flood in Peninsula, Ohio, from http://www.ohioanderiecanalway.com/Main/Pages/106.aspx
Cover of Spring 2013 newsletter of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, describing events in Northeast Ohio commemorating the centennial of the 1913 flood
1913 flood in Franklin, Ohio; Franklin area Historical Society
Feature article in March 2011 issue of The Rotarian by Trudy E. Bell on how through the 1913 flood Rotary discovered its humanitarian mission
First page of the article in the January 2013 newsletter The Buzz outlining some of the centennial outreach plans of the Silver Jackets