Saturday, April 13, 2013

Centennial Update: April through December

Many organizations in Indiana and Ohio are commemorating the 1913 flood all this year.
In April, 1913, the floodwaters were still bursting levees down the Mississippi River, and national discussion of the calamity had only just begun. Centennial exhibitions, talks, and other events continue throughout the rest of 2013. Below, all events are listed by date. Pay attention to the state because they are about evenly split between Indiana and Ohio. Nearly a dozen events below are new for this April update. Please contact the sources listed for more information (unless you have questions specifically about the talks I personally will be giving).
If you attend or host a 1913 commemorative event, please do let me know how it goes—a paragraph about what it covered, who was there, and how you felt. Include some photographs. Also, please send me clippings, PDFs, and/or URLs to 1913 centennial flood and tornado stories run in local newspapers or online. Don’t forget links to podcasts or videos. Soon, I plan to post a roundup of accounts of events and links to centennial articles to share with people in distant regions… and so memories don’t fade away, as they did after 1913.

In progress now through April 28. Coshocton, OH. Special exhibit “The Flood of 1913” of nearly 50 photographs and postcards from flooded Coshocton County, from the collection of Joe and Donna Kreitzer, will be displayed at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum, 300 North Whitewoman Street (Roscoe Village). $3.00 adults, $2 ages 5-16. For information, contact museum director Patti Makenke at (740) 622-8710 or .

In progress now through April 30. 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." 

1913 flood in Lafayette, Indiana; Tippecanoe County Historical Association
In progress now through April 30. Noblesville, IN. 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.

In progress through April 30. Oxford, OH. 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. 

In progress now through April 30. West Lafayette, IN. The West Lafayette Public Library, 208 W. Columbia, West Lafayette, will display photographs from the Tippecanoe County Historical Association’s Permanent 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. 

In progress through May 4. Hamilton, OH. 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. 

In progress now through May 5. Dayton, OH. 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.

1913 flood in Peru, Indiana; Miami County Museum
In progress now through May 25. Peru, IN. 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

In progress now through December 31. Indianapolis, IN. Opening of the Indiana Historical Society's ninth You Are There experience, a special exhibit at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center  "1913: A City Under Water" commemorating the Great Flood of 1913, and addressing the environmental effects of local urban flooding. Visit a reconstruction of the Wulf’s Hall Relief Station  on the west side of downtown Indianapolis in the days following the flood. 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 . Scenes from the making of the exhibit appear at .
Part of the outdoor exhibit Flow: Can You See the River? Indianapolis Museum of Art
Ongoing. Indianapolis, IN.  Not specifically related to the 1913 flood, but definitely intended (among other things) to give visitors a feel for flooding is the permanent outdoor installation Flow: Can You See the River? in the Virginia B. Fairbanks Art & Nature Park adjacent to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Most striking is the set of trees girdled with red ribbons that give a viewer a sense of how high the water would be for a "100-year flood" (a flood with 1% chance of happening any given year). There is a PDF brochure with a map at the exhibit's microsite.

April 14 (Sunday). Tiffin, OH. [NEW LISTING!] At 3:00 PM there will be a memorial service for Tiffin’s 1913 flood victims at the former South Washington Street Methodist Church, 230 S. Washington St., in downtown Tiffin. The doors open at 3. According to Lisa Swickard, author of Calamity and Courage: Tiffin’s Battle During Ohio’s Deadly 1913 Flood (see “Book Report! 21 Books and Films About the Great Easter Flood and Tornadoes”), “The memorial service will be very cool. It's based on the original memorial service that was conducted for the flood victims, even before the bodies of William Klingshirn and William Axline were recovered. We're doing essentially the same format: reading the names of the victims, re-telling the story, the mayor is going to talk about the building of the flood wall and it's importance to our city, and an antique club will be presenting the mayor with a plaque honoring Louis Jones, the man from the tiny town of Kansas, Ohio, who dredged the river and built the bridges and the flood wall. Afterward, we may venture to Greenlawn Cemetery for a wreath-laying ceremony.”

April 18 (Thursday). Brookville, OH. [NEW LISTING!] At 7:00 PM, Scott Trostel—author of And Through the Black Night of Terror and Letters From the Attic (see “Book Report! 21 Books and Films About the Great Easter Flood and Tornadoes”)will present a talk on the 1913 flood in the northern Miami Valley, followed by a book signing. Clay Township Historical Society, 8992 Welbaum Rd., Brookville, OH 45309. Trostel will be giving similar talks and book signings at other venues and times on April 23, May 1, May 21, June 12, July 31, and December 5. For details about those venues and times, see the upcoming events on Trostel’s website. (Note: The June 12 luncheon event requires advance registration.)

April 19, May 3, 10, 17, 24, and 31 (Fridays). Dayton, OH. [NEW LISTING!] At 7:00 PM one Friday in April and every Friday in May, Leon Bey of Gem City Walking Tours conducts “The Great Dayton Flood Walk.” Reservations are required for the two-hour walk; for ticket information, contact Bey (937)274-4749 or see his website. For background about Bey, see "Ghosts in Dayton? tour guide tells where they are."

Feature article in March 2011 issue of The Rotarian by Trudy E. Bell on how through the 1913 flood Rotary discovered its humanitarian mission
April 24 (Wednesday). Rocky River, OH. 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 devastating tragedy 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

April 26 (Friday) to April 30 (Tuesday). Riverside, OH. [NEW LISTING!] From 5:00 to 8:00 PM on Friday and daytime hours on the other days, the free “1913 Dayton Flood Exhibit” includes a display from the Wright State University Libraries as well as many other items from the flood era, including books, articles, pictures, and interesting historical pieces related to the communities before and after the flood. Riverside Historical Society has prepared a timeline and aftermath document for visitors. Riverside Historical Society, Airway Shopping Center, 4930 Airway Road. PO Box 31066, Riverside Ohio 45437. For exact hours each day, contact Judy Horn, President, 937-252-7242 or 937-254-1591.

May 13 (Monday). Rocky River, OH. [NEW LISTING!] At 12 noon, at the Lakewood–Rocky River Noon 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 devastating tragedy transformed the whole meaning of service. At Rocky River Memorial Hall, 21012 Hilliard Blvd., Rocky River, OH 44116. Visitors welcome. Come early for a light lunch ($12.00) preceding the talk.

June 9 (Sunday). Miamisburg, OH. [NEW LISTING!] From 4:30 to 8:00 PM at Riverfront Park, there will be a “Tribute to the 1913 Flood.” The Miamisburg Historical Society, in conjunction with the City of Miamisburg, will commemorate the event wtih an afternoon of vintage photos, bus tours and general river information as part of the region-wide spotlight on the Great Miami River. Entertainment includes a performance by the Star City Community Band, Miamisburg Community Chorus, and ends with a musical concert in the park by the Kettering Banjo Society, featuring music from the turn of the century.  Free event (plus river kayaking available for a fee:  $5 shuttle only; $15 single; $20 double). Preregistration required: call the Miamisburg Parks and Recreation Department  (937) 866-4532.  

August 9–11 (Friday–Sunday). Dayton, OH. [NEW LISTING!] At the 30th Annual Germanfest Picnic, the Culture Display at the Heritage Booth will feature “The 1913 Flood—And How It Affected German Dayton.” The exhibit will focus on the disastrous impact of the Flood on Dayton’s German Community. The free exhibit will be open from August 9 at 5 PM to Sunday, August 11 at 6 PM. Carillon Historical Park, 1000 Carillon Blvd. Dayton, OH 45409.  More information on the Germanfest Picnic, including schedule and parking information, is at the website of the Dayton German Club. (Note that Carillon Historical Park is also the site of a new permanent exhibit Great Flood of 1913—see "Plans to commemorate the 100th anniversary of region's greatest catastrophe." .)

 August 28-29 (Wednesday-Thursday). Columbus, OH. The 2013 Ohio Statewide Floodplain Management Conference, an annual training event on many aspects of floodplain management, will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1913 flood. The conference is a cooperative effort of among the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Ohio department of Natural Resources (ODNR), and Ohio Floodplain Management Association (OFMA). Doubletree Hotel, Columbus/Worthington. For information, contact Alicia Silverio at (614) 265-1006 or e-mail her.

September 11 (Wednesday). Angola, IN. [NEW LISTING!] For the annual conference of the Indiana Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management, to be held at Pokagon State Park near Angola, Trudy E. Bell will be both a plenary speaker and also speaker in a breakout group on the 1913 flood in Indiana. More details will be posted closer to the time on the INAFSM website and at my 1913 flood web page.

December 5 (Thursday). Venue to be announced (Ohio). [NEW LISTING!] At 7:00 PM, Scott Trostel—author of And Through the Black Night of Terror and Letters From the Attic (see “Book Report! 21 Books and Films About the Great Easter Flood and Tornadoes”)will be keynote speaker for the annual dinner of the Shelby Soil & Water Conservation District on the 1913 flood in the northern Miami Valley. For details see Trostel’s website.

ANYWHERE (accessible nationwide or even worldwide)

April 18 (Thursday). Worldwide. World Amateur Radio Day. Each year on April 18, amateur (ham) radio operators internationally celebrate World Amateur Radio Day, the day in 1925 that the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) was founded. This year 2013 is special, because 100 years ago during the 1913 flood in Columbus, Ohio (see this 1964 obituary of one of the radio amateur heroes), and elsewhere were the first recorded instances of amateur radio being used to provide communications in a natural disaster. The theme for 2013 is thus “Amateur Radio: Entering Its Second Century of DisasterCommunications.”

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 to publicize 1913 centennial events in the region. The MCD also plans to release a centennial book A Flood of Memories in March.

First page of the article in the January 2013 newsletter The Buzz outlining some of the 1913 flood centennial outreach plans of the Silver Jackets

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" --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.  See other events listed at  and follow them on Twitter at #1913flood and #SilverJackets.

The Ohio Emergency Management Agency is planning a number of events, which will be posted at this Facebook Page.

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

Next time: Through Tornado and Flood: Rotary Discovers Its Humanitarian Mission