Friday, March 1, 2019

Opera, Book, and Kindle

Three recent new works explore aspects of the 1913 flood in Columbus, Indianapolis, and Dayton

Virtually all books, videos, and other works about the Great Easter 1913 Flood focus on its monumental death and destruction, most often in the context of one locality. Few encompass the multistate geographical scale of the natural catastrophe, and almost none explore its human toll through time as families struggled to come to terms with total loss.

That all changed February 8–10, 2019, with the world premiere of an ambitious original opera called The Flood—giving three performances to a packed Southern Theatre (seating capacity 900) in Columbus, Ohio.

The project was supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts; the music was composed by Korine Fujiwara, commissioned by OPERA America’s Opera Grants for Female Composers program; the libretto was written by Stephen Wadsworth (who, among other things, had written A Quiet Place with Leonard Bernstein). It was co-produced by Opera Columbus and ProMusica Chamber Orchestra. The singers’ backgrounds included education at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and the Juilliard School in New York City (among others), and performances with the New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra.

Warning: plot spoilers ahead.

The one-act opera The Flood was set in four interiors at different eras to reveal how later generations of a family seek to resolve the trauma suffered by ancestors during the 1913 flood. Before the Saturday evening performance at the Southern Theatre in Columbus, Ohio, historian Trudy E. Bell set the wider context of the 1913 flood to audience members. Credit: Roxana Bell

The Flood is set in two Columbus neighborhoods: Franklinton—hardest hit by the 1913 flood—and Hilltop. Although librettist Wadsworth had immersed himself in the history of the flood in Columbus—whose death toll was equivalent to that in more famous Dayton—the story is much more universal. Thus, the fictional characters and their situations are composites, and knowledge about specific historical settings is not critical to understanding the drama. More important is how the tragedy of loss ricochets through four generations of an extended family over a century: 1913, 1940, 1970, and 2014.

In the new opera The Flood, tragedy befalling a woman in the 1913 flood (left) plays out in the later life of her former lover in 1940 (right). Photo: The Wall Street Journal

The eras are not depicted successively in acts. The opera unfolds in one act, with the different eras depicted in four interiors on the stage simultaneously—especially poignant in revealing how trauma from the past can cripple love for the present or future, can engender future pain(or forgetting), and can trigger how people wrestle with ghosts. Time is fluid, and future interacts with past. It is a substantial, meaty work; I truly wish I could have seen it twice—once to absorb the plot and a second time to more closely follow the complexities of the loves and losses and rediscoveries.

The father in 1940 (left), who had lost his first wife and children in the 1913 flood, rejects the daughter of his second marriage, who ends up in an insane asylum by 1970 (middle). She leaves the asylum to marry, and eventually dies, but years later her own daughter discovers her mother’s tragic secret in 2014 (right). Credit: Columbus Underground
Because the play is in no way a history of the 1913 flood, the Friday and Saturday evening performances and the Sunday matinee were all preceded by a scene-setting “talkback” by different guest speakers who recounted aspects of the history of the 1913 flood. Two (for Friday and Sunday) were local experts sketching its history in Columbus, and I (for Saturday night) outlined its wider context.

Interviews with some of the creators and some of the music sung by the performers can be heard in this 7.5-minute video preview. (A 30-second teaser is here.)
The Flood is a significant work, and to be highly recommended if it comes to your city. Reviews of the weekend’s performances were published not only in local outlets (including  The Columbus Dispatch and Radio OSU) but also in The Wall Street Journal.

Police in Indianapolis

Patrick Pearsey, archivist for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, has expanded his research—some of it summarized for this research blog in April 2016 in his guest post “Men of the Hour—into an entire book titled The Time of Heroes: The Great Flood of 1913 and the Indianapolis Police Department (no date, but privately published in 2018).

The book chronologically outlines what happened in Indianapolis during the 1913 flood from March 21 through 30, focusing on the especially disastrous days of March 25–27. In Pearsey’s words, “When the Washington Street Bridge collapsed on the 26th, the city was cut in two. Marooned on the west side of the raging White River was Captain George V. Coffin and a handful of police officers. Faced with rescuing, feeding and clothing over 7,000 people that week, what these men did became the Indianapolis’s Police Department’s finest hour.”

The large-print book is 425 pages long and features some 200 photographs. Print-on-demand copies can be purchased from Amazon

A Day in Dayton

Corpses in Trees and Rats on a Raft: The Great Dayton Flood of 1913, compiled by Danny Z. Kiel, is a transcription of the special “flood edition” of the Dayton Daily News published on April 2, 1913. That issue was likely the first attempt by anyone in 1913 to summarize the drama of the flood in some kind of coherent narrative—preceding the “instant books” that began to appear in late April (see “Profiting from Pain”). The original newspaper issue was a makeshift affair, which resulted in many typesetting errors that Kiel has sought to correct in his 77-page transcript.

Published in 2016, the work does not appear to exist as a printed book. A 99-cent Kindle version is available on Amazon (along with a preview and introduction). 

Happy reading!

©2019 Trudy E. Bell

Bell, Trudy E., The Great Dayton Flood of 1913, Arcadia Publishing, 2008. Picture book of nearly 200 images of the flood in Dayton, rescue efforts, recovery, and the construction of the Miami Conservancy District dry dams for flood control, including several pictures of Cox. (Author’s shameless marketing plug: Copies are available directly from me for the cover price of $21.99 plus $4.00 shipping, complete with inscription of your choice; for details, e-mail me), or order from the publisher.

[Note: I am in the midst of an unrelated book project that is currently claiming most of my time, but am posting here as often as possible. Feel free to contact me re the Great Easter 1913 natural catastrophe.]

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Paducah Postcards + Miamisburg Marker

One reader’s query leads to solving a Kentucky mystery; another reader invites viewing of a new historical marker on the 1913 flood in Ohio 

Out of the blue the morning of June 2, 2018, this email message arrived:

Ms. Bell. I stumbled upon your blog a couple of years back while trying to identify a group of flood postcards I have. I thought they were from Paducah, KY, but didn’t know the year. Turns out 
This scene during the 1913 flood is one of seven mystery postcards received from Mike Kunz. It is of downtown Paducah, Kentucky: specifically, Broadway seen from Second Street. The water flooding the city was deep enough for boats.
they were from 1913, and show some of the ‘Water Carnival’ in that city. I have collected and sold cards for years, never being aware of the importance of the 1913 flood. I have read all of your past blogs and have told a number of collectors and dealers at shows about the site. I have 
All seven postcards from Mike Kunz
correspond to scenes depicted in
this souvenir booklet, with a few
minor differences in the way images
were cropped.
gained much from this sight and I have enjoyed it’s educational value. To thank you for your efforts I would like you to have these Paducah cards. I would rather see them go where they would be appreciated than to someone for resale. I’m not trying to sell you something. If you want them, just send me an address, and will send them to you.

Keep up the good work. Mike Kunz, Petersburg, Tn.

South Third Street from Broadway in 
Paducah; at left is the Citizens Savings
 Bank and at right is First National Bank.
In this and other images, the faint vertical
marking that seems disembodied in the
sky is actually a streetlight hanging from
electrical wires.
The “water carnival” to which Mike Kunz referred was the appalling belittling of the horrific magnitude of the 1913 flood in Paducah, Kentucky, recounted in this blog’s September 2014 post “Spurning Disaster Aid.” 

At the time I wrote that post—indeed, until last month—I had never seen photos of the 1913 flood in Paducah as the city newspaper then did not publish images.

South Fourth Street from
Broadway. At left in the
foreground is the dry goods
business W. M. Rieke & Co.,
and in the background is
City Hall. At right in the
foreground is the Paducah
Banking Co.
Immediately, I wrote back to Mike, thanking him and accepting his generous offer. A few days later, seven black-and-white postcards arrived by mail. 

All of them showed flooded street scenes of a city with a few people in distant boats. The postcards were lithographed: they had a halftone screen dot pattern, suggesting they might have been printed for mass distribution or sale (as opposed to being real photographic prints made from a glass negative in an enlarger). None of them had been used; none had any printed caption; a few had cryptic handwritten identifying markings on the front (clearly on the original negative).
Broadway Avenue looking
east from Fourth Street.
The City National Bank
is at the left.

When I asked Mike what led him think they were of Paducah, he responded:

Trudy, the one card depicts the 3 Links Bldg, and I have had another view of that building that identifies it from Paducah. Also, the street names match some in Paducah. I have tried to find info on the store names visible on the images, but had no luck. You probably have access to better sources than I, so that might help. I have been able to pinpoint other locations that way. I think these cards were probably printed by a newspaper or local printer, but it unusual for them not to be identified as such. Please let me know what you come up with. Good luck with your search, Mike.  

Map of Paducah, KY, showing where
the seven postcard images were
photographed during the 1913 flood.
His guess triggered a memory of another blog post I wrote, “Grisly Souvenirs,” on the commemorative booklets—including booklets of postcards—published in many cities of local Great Easter 1913 flood and tornado devastation. The very first image in that post was of just such a booklet for Paducah, which at that time (November 2015) I had never seen and could not find online.

North Fourth Street from
Broadway Avenue.
Well, sometime in the intervening two-and-a-half years, images of the booklet’s interior pages made their way onto the internet. 

Broadway Avenue between
Fourth and Fifth Streets. The
author of the souvenir booklet
spins reality by noting that the
scene shows “johnboats of every
description in which the citizens
enjoyed the Water Carnival.”
Those pages definitively revealed that all seven postcards indeed were of the 1913 flood in Paducah depicted in the booklet, including identifications of the street locations. No name is given for the booklet’s author, but the photographs were credited to Paducah photographers Sacra & Cook.

Thank you, Mike Kunz! 

Fifth and Kentucky Avenue, showing the
Three Links Building.
This post reproduces all seven of the postcards he kindly gave to me, identifying their locations.

Miamisburg 1913 flood marker

Meantime, a couple of weeks earlier, on May 22, 2018, another reader emailed: 

Hard to believe it's been 5 years since we recognized the 1913 flood in Miamisburg.  If you are in the area on June 19, 10:00 am Riverfront Park, we are dedicating an Ohio Historical Marker. Would be nice if you could be there.  Carol O'Connell, Miamisburg Historical Society

When it turned out that the dedication was to be “merely a pause in the many activities” that day celebrating the bicentennial Miamisburg (southwest of Dayton), and that I live 200+ miles away diagonally across the state, Carol promised to send me a copy of the program after the event.

She was as good as her word, supplemented by photos of the historical marker by local photographer Jay Robinson. Jay’s images of the front and back of the marker are here; additional images he took of the entire unveiling of the marker are on Facebook.

When I asked Carol what her role had been in securing the historical marker, she replied:

I completed the application for the Ohio History Connection marker.  It's akin to writing a research paper.  It was my donation to Miamisburg's Bicentennial celebration. It was unveiled at the site that was inundated by the flood. The land is repurposed as Riverfront Park. The marker stands in front of the levee along the Great Miami River constructed by the Miami Conservancy District.
Historical images of Miamisburg during the 1913 flood appear on the city’s website.

Thank you, Carol and Jay!

Speaking of historical markers…

After hearing from Carol, I wondered what other historical markers might commemorate the 1913 flood. A quick Google search revealed that another one was installed a year ago (June 2017) by the Indian Lake Historical 
Society. It is in Russells Point, OH (Logan County) along the Great Miami River—only about 75 miles northeast of Miamisburg, in case someone wants to visit them both in a day. Both photographs of the Indian Lake marker were taken by Rev. Ronald Irick.

Installation of historical markers commemorating the widespread Great Easter 1913 tornadoes and flood 
in any state is the type of news I would love to feature in this research blog. Heck, I’d love simply to learn the locations and see images of long-existing historical markers that describe a landmark that existed until destroyed by the Great Easter tornadoes or flood, even if the disaster itself is not the main focus of the marker…

It’s always fun to hear from readers with queries, updates, images, leads to new information, or invitations to speak or to attend relevant events, so please contact me 

©2018 Trudy E. Bell

Next time: Desperate Medicine

Selected references
The 1913 flood is commemorated in some paintings in floodwall murals—see “Magnum Opus.” 

Bell, Trudy E., The Great Dayton Flood of 1913, Arcadia Publishing, 2008. Picture book of nearly 200 images of the flood in Dayton, rescue efforts, recovery, and the construction of the Miami Conservancy District dry dams for flood control, including several pictures of Cox. 
(Author’s shameless marketing plug: Copies are available directly from me for the cover price of $21.99 plus $4.00 shipping, complete with inscription of your choice; for details, e-mail me), or order from the publisher.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Mailing (and Faking!) Disaster

Postcards published and sold just days after the 1913 flood sent actual photographsand faked images!!of Dayton’s destruction, and that in other Ohio cities, to friends and family all around the nation.

Out of the blue some weeks ago, on March 21 (2018)—105 years to the day after the horrific Good Friday windstorm decimated wireline communications and set up Ohio and the Midwest for much greater destruction without warning two days later, on Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913 (see “The First Punch)—I received a brief email message from one Elaine Luck: 

 I just shared a picture postcard of John Bell from my personal postcard collection in the Ohio Vintage Postcard Group and would like permission to share a link to your online article: “Our National Calamity” with the Group. Also if you like, since a lot of our members collect postcards from the 1913 Flood, I would be happy to tell our members about your book The Great Dayton Flood of 1913, Arcadia Publishing, 2008. If you are on facebook, please take a look at our Group. I am very impressed with your work and invite you to join us.

  Pleasantly surprised, I replied:
Thank you for your kind words. I trust you mean the story of John Bell in “Heroism of the ‘Hello Girls’”? More information about what John Bell actually, physically did is in one of the very early posts “The Governor’s Ear.
It dawned on me then that people in the Ohio Vintage Postcards Group might have other picture postcards depicting the 1913 flood around Ohio—and that they might be seeking more information about the individual scenes photographed. So, with Elaine’s encouragement, I posted an invitation to the group, inviting them to contact me “if you would like me to delve into the background of particular postcards you may have.”

Some of the resulting detective sleuthing ended up uncovering big surprises. Jil Loewit posted an image of a fire over the flood, asking, “I would like more info about this postcard please.
This RPCC, uploaded by Jil Loewit, depicts a scene
that was faked a century before PhotoShop!

No one was more surprised than I with what emerged from my research. I replied:
After 3-4 hours of sleuthing, I’m pretty confident in stating that the scene in this image never happened – or at least, not in the way depicted. For a fact, fires from gas explosions broke out in Dayton, and for a fact people used cables in rescues (see “High Wire Horror) – but this view of both happening in one scene is almost surely a pre-Photoshop doctored image. What initially suggested that was the fact that I already possessed a thumbnail image I found years ago that varies in details (see below).
Note how the image is cropped differently and the smoke billows higher into the sky and the colors differ.
But today I also found what appears to be the original photo of the scene in Marshall Everett’s 1913 instant book Tragic Story of America’s Greatest Disaster. Now, these instant disaster books are problematic in their own way (see “Profiting from Pain), but in this case the photo reveals how the postcard is a doctored image. Even though the photo (from the copy of the book I own) highlights a cable rescue, no boat of figures is shown using the cable.
Note how the grouping of people at left is nearer and smaller. Most importantly, there is no burning building in the background because the street has a sight-line all the way to the horizon, where some figures are standing atop some wreckage. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen other variants on this scene as well!
Jil also posted another image that puzzled her. She asked: “Can you please tell me who these men were? Is one of them Patterson?” 

By ‘Patterson,’ she was referring to John H. Patterson, founder and head of National Cash Register (NCR), Dayton’s largest employer (locally nicknamed “the Cash”); thousands flooded out of their homes climbed to the hilltop corporation to safety—a rescue story that instantly went viral around the nation, and that ultimately rescued Patterson himself from doing time in Federal prison. I replied:

None of these men is John H. Patterson, who was 69, slight, vigorous, with a bushy white moustache (see “The Villain Who Stole the Flood,” third photo down – Patterson is the older gentleman in the center, wearing a dark coat).  It’s barely possible, however, that the middle figure on the rooftop could be Patterson’s right-hand man, Edward A. Deeds, who succeeded him as head of NCR – a good photo of both Patterson and Deeds is at the Dayton Metro Library’s Flickr site.
Jil Loewit also posted a picture postcard of people being rescued in a flat-bottomed boat, noting, “Dayton Flood of 1913. Happened this week 105 years ago!”

She added a modern photo of a museum exhibit, writing, “Here is a reproduction of what those boats looked like. I assume none of them survived. This photo was taken at Carillon Historical Park in Dayton, Ohio. They have a whole building dedicated to the Dayton Flood of 1913. The man in the photo lost his life while rescuing others.”

Those flat-bottomed boats were likely the most significant thing Patterson did through NCR, as they saved thousands of lives. Their story started around 6:45 AM on Tuesday, March 25, 1913, after Dayton had been deluged with 48 hours of record rainfall since Easter Sunday. Patterson and a group of executives climbed to the roof of the NCR building to survey the swollen Miami River, whose level they saw was dangerously nearing the tops of its containing levees. 

At that moment, Patterson predicted great disaster to Dayton and famously stated, “I now declare NCR out of commission, and I proclaim the Citizen’s Relief Association!” and he began barking out orders to make preparations. Just hours later, the levees burst, sending walls of water through the streets of downtown Dayton. 

Among Patterson’s orders barked out was a command to NCR’s carpenters to start building as many rescue boats as possible. Working night and day and turning out several per hour, the NCR carpenters ultimately constructed nearly 300 flat-bottomed boats. They had a shallow draft and were very stable, allowing half a dozen people at a time to be rowed to safety. 

Re the replica in the Carillon Museum and Jil’s speculation about no surviving originals: I’m pretty sure that at least one of the actual boats may still exist. In 2007, when I was in Dayton doing photo research for my book The Great Dayton Flood of 1913 (Arcadia, 2008), I spent several days poring through flood photos at the NCR archives preserved at Dayton History. At that time, local historian Curt Dalton (author of several books on the 1913 flood) showed the surviving boat to me where it stood against a wall. What struck me was how, even though the rather battered craft had been roughly cleaned for storage, small patches of flood mud still seemed to be visible.
Walter Jung: “Third Street East, After the Flood and Fires,
March 25, 1913, Dayton Ohio - unused real photo postcard.

Comment from Elaine Luck: “I've never before seen a
1913 flood card showing the aftermath. Great Card!”

The memory of the 1913 flood is alive and well in Dayton, whose story has a happy ending because of the monumental Miami Valley Conservancy District’s mammoth flood-protection system (see “Morgan’s Cowboysand “Morgan’s Pyramids). In 1922, Engineering Record awarded the Miami Conservancy District’s flood protection system its distinguished Project of the Year Award, placing it in the company of such other international engineering design feats as the Brooklyn Bridge (1883) and the Eiffel Tower (1889), as well as the later Golden Gate Bridge (1937), the Gateway Arch (1965), and the Channel Tunnel (1994). And in 1972, the five earthen dams were designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

Beyond Dayton 
But the 1913 flood did not stop at Dayton’s city limits. Neither did postcard photographers. Worse hit than Dayton in terms of flood deaths per capita population was Hamilton (Butler County) farther down the Great Miami River. 
This flood scene of downtown Hamilton, a postcard uploaded to Ohio Vintage Postcards by Greg Eyler, could easily be mistaken for downtown Dayton because of the similarity of the building architecture and globe street lamps. Note Hamilton’s partially submerged Butler County Soldiers, Sailors, and Pioneers Monument at the end of the street
The official death toll in both cities was about 100, but Hamilton had less than a third of Dayton’s population; death tolls everywhere were widely underestimated (see “‘Death Rode Ruthless’); and a tally by long-time Hamilton historian Jim Blount indicates the death toll in Hamilton might have been closer to 300).

Greg Eyler uploaded a real picture postcard (RPPC) of Hamilton taken on the second day of the deluge, March 26, 1913 (above). He wrote:

Downtown’s High Street looking west at the intersection of High and Third Streets. Image taken from the First National Bank Building. On the left side of this postcard the Masonic Building and the Rentschler Building -which is located on the southeast corner of High and Second Streets - are standing strong. In the next block the front of the Butler County Courthouse is visible. Water is from 7 to 12 feet deep on the city’s main public thoroughfare, flowing about 20 miles an hour. You will notice the water stands halfway up the lampposts. This photograph was produced by Jacobi and Berry, a photography studio operating out of 308 High Street. Information Source: Hamilton's Disastrous Flood - 100 Photographic Views (a picture booklet), published by C. S. Jacobi, First National Bank Building, Hamilton, Ohio. Copyright 1913

Mark Kittinger uploaded a slightly different view taken a few days later after the floodwaters had somewhat receded, writing, “Here's a RPPC I recently found showing the aftermath of the 1913 flood in Hamilton, Ohio. A National Guardsman with rifle can be seen standing in the rubble near the trolley tracks.” Note the torn-up pavement.
Piqua and Troy north of Dayton, some 25 miles up the Great Miami River, also were hammered a day earlier than Dayton. Elaine Luck uploaded an RPPC she described as “Piqua Ohio, Miami County, RR. Bridge, probably 1913 Flood.” Indeed, it is. It shows the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge, looking toward East Piqua, a residential area.
Railroad officials tried to keep the bridge from being swept away by parking heavy freight cars on it—a tactic used in many locales and that often worked. In this case, work previously done on the railroad weakened the earthen approach to the east. When that gave way, new concrete piers installed for a replacement bridge diverted the river into the adjacent residential area. After the flood, many residents filed lawsuits against the railroad. RPPC from Elaine Luck.
But the flood was also far vaster than the Miami Valley. It engulfed much of the entire state of Ohio. Indeed, the 1913 flood and associated tornadoes devastated parts of 15 states (one major focus of my research for 15 years has been to determine its full extent and consequences). Postcards from cities around Ohio document the extent of its widespread destruction. 

One of the most dramatic images was on this RPPC of Lods Street in Akron (Summit County) along the Little Cuyahoga River, posted by Elaine Luck (at right). The photo itself testifies to the sheer force of the floodwaters through Akron, some 200 miles northeast of Dayton. Moreover, the postcard was postmarked April 5, 1913. Now, the floodwaters had not receded most places until around March 28 or even later, indicating that photographers already had developed their film or glass plates, printed postcards, and distributed them for sale in just days. 

Interestingly, that Akron postcard was addressed to a recipient in Seville (Medina County), which itself also suffered during the flood, as shown in another postcard Elaine posted (at left).

Mary L. McClure wrote: “One of the 1913 flood stories I read involved Silver Lake Park near Akron/Cuyahoga Falls. Water flooded the bear pits, where the famous Silver Lake black bears were housed. The park's owners retrieved the bears and put them in their home until they could be safely returned to their rightful place.” McClure is herself an Arcadia author, having written the book Silver Lake Park (2014).

All these 1913 flood postcards from Ohio Vintage Postcards Group members inspired me to search for more on my own. Knowing that Zanesville was hard hit, I Googled on the city’s name and found this postcard of men rowing down the city’s flooded streets for sale on ebay (at right).

I found way too many to mention in this one ONC post, but one I cannot resist, in part to correct the record. This famous image of the freighter William Henry Mack destroying Cleveland’s West Third Street Bridge (see Clevelanders Responding Nobly’) was turned into a RPPC:

The postcard’s caption is erroneous. The freighter itself destroyed the bridge. The Mack broke away from its moorings upriver and was swept downstream, getting wedged under the bridge; the powerful turbulence of the Cuyhaoga River kept pitching the bow of the freighter like a lever arm, in about four hours prying Cleveland’s West Third Street Bridge off its supports and into the river. Credit: The Cleveland Memory Project 

On the Ohio Vintage Postcards Group, Robert Gardner marveled, 

It is almost unbelievable how many cities and towns in Ohio (maybe other states also) that were flooded during the 1913 flood. The canal system was permanently put out of commission from it. The post cards of the day are really the only reminder of it. Thank god the computer wasn't invented yet or all the pictures would be obsolete by now as they would have been stored in a format that no modern computer could read.
Elaine Luck uploaded this image of tumbled houses, identifying it as, “Columbus Ohio, Franklin County, 1913 Flood View, PU1913 with a message on back referring to the casualties.” To which David Fry commented: “These are such surreal images. What these poor people had to endure.” More about Columbus is in "Wireless to the Rescue! Birth of Emergency Radio"
He is absolutely right. Without  much effort, I found RPPCs of the 1913 flood from Ashtabula County to Portsmouth to a gold mine of 1913 flood postcards in and around AuGlaize (Defiance County)
Antwerp (on the Maumee River near the Indiana border),
from Elaine Luck

Statewide disaster, indeed.

Altogether, the Ohio Vintage Postcards Group generously posted some 30 or 40 RPPC images of the 1913 flood and its aftermath, far more than I can mention and display in this one blog post. But you can view them all, along with the full online conversation and people’s comments, from this link—as well as e-meet Elaine Luck, the group’s administrator, and perhaps join and upload RPPCs of your own! Let me know if you do!
Dave Sapienza uploaded this image, noting: “1913 flood disaster,
Marietta Ohio.
” To which Judnick Postcards commented,
“Photos taken during a flood put the photographer at
considerable risk. They are therefore much better than the aftermath shots.”

P.S. For 139 more postcard images of the 1913 flood, many from Ohio, see this major site by Ray Thomas; his two pictorial overviews show thumbnails of all the images that you can click to enlarge. Moreover, this month’s single ONC post doesn’t begin to explore postcards from Indiana, Kentucky, Nebraska, and so many other states also devastated by the 1913 tornadoes and flood. If you wish to share your own Great Easter 1913 natural disaster images from states other than Ohio, I’d love to hear from you

Keep those cards and letters coming, folks!

©2018 Trudy E. Bell

Next time: Desperate Medicine

Bell, Trudy E., The Great Dayton Flood of 1913, Arcadia Publishing, 2008. Picture book of nearly 200 images of the flood in Dayton, rescue efforts, recovery, and the construction of the Miami Conservancy District dry dams for flood control, including several pictures of Cox. (Author’s shameless marketing plug: Copies are available directly from me for the cover price of $21.99 plus $4.00 shipping, complete with inscription of your choice; for details, e-mail me), or order from the publisher.