The Great Flood of March 1913 was probably the worst disaster in Dayton’s history. Hundreds of people died in Dayton alone, but many lived to tell their tales of hardship and devastation. You can hear some of these stories in our 1913 Flood Survivors Oral History collection, MS-296 (watch videos online in CORE Scholar). However, these human survivors of the 1913 Flood have become more and more scarce as the years pass by; perhaps we have lost them all at this point.
But there are some 1913 Flood “survivors” that you can still visit anytime, because they were never alive at all. Some of them were (and in some cases, still are) buildings. Many homes were lifted off their foundations and literally swept away, but there were plenty of structures that made it through the flood with non-terminal damage. Many of these were downtown, and some of them survive today, despite the flood and urban development.
Here are a few examples, with photographs (click to enlarge) from the Dayton Daily News Archive:
- Dayton Arcade
- Third Street Post Office (now the Federal Building)
- Beaver Power Building (now St. Clair Lofts)
- Emmanuel Catholic Church
- Sacred Heart Church
Here are some other downtown Dayton buildings that survived the 1913 Flood and can still be seen today:
- Algonquin Hotel (now the Doubletree Hotel)
- Conover Building
- Memorial Hall
- Holy Trinity Catholic Church
- Dayton Daily News Building
- Delco Buildings
- Old Court House
- Victoria Theatre
- United Brethren Publishing House
Can you name any others?
More information about the 1913 Flood in Dayton 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.
- The “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 from Special Collections & Archives, on Wright State’s Campus Online Repository CORE Scholar.