Experiencing the actual flood portion of the Great 1913 Flood was a terrible ordeal in and of itself—the lack of access to supplies, food, and fresh drinking water; the cut-off in communications; the lack of heat due to broken utility lines and cold weather; and of course the lost lives. But after the waters receded, Miami Valley residents had still more horrors to contend with.
There was significant damage to homes, businesses, and property in general, as a result of the permeating floodwaters. Thick mud coated walls, floors, furnishings, automobiles, and…everything else. Many homes were even lifted from their foundations, tossed and sometimes flipped sideways, as if they were light as dollhouses. There was fire damage in many parts of town, where the broken gas lines had ignited, burning uncontrollably, since, despite there being water everywhere, there was no way to pump it up into the air to combat the flames, since firetrucks couldn’t get into the flood zone. After the river returned to its banks, drowned horses and other livestock could be seen strewn about the former flood zone as well.
Here are some photographs from the Dayton Daily News Archive depicting scenes in Dayton just after the flood ended—and as the cleanup had just begun:
More information can be found in these resources from Wright State University Special Collections & Archives:
- Dayton Daily News Archive, DDNVIP Files, 87F, 1913 Flood (several folders).
- More Dayton Daily News Archive blog posts about 1913 Flood.
- Several “Out of the Box” blog posts about 1913 Flood.
- The 1913 Flood web site section.
- Two of our online exhibits focus on the 1913 Flood.
- Manuscript collections pertaining to the 1913 Flood.
- Digital materials pertaining to the 1913 Flood, on WSU CORE.