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Special Collections & Archives

Flood Menace

The Debate Over Flood Protection in Ohio’s Miami Valley Illustrated Through Political Cartoons

In late March of 1913, an unusually heavy rainstorm moved into the Miami Valley region. By the third day of the downpour, levees were overtopped and many towns and farms suffered disastrous flooding. The city of Dayton was particularly hit hard. When the water receded the death toll stood at 361. In all, 65,000 were forced to leave their homes temporarily, and property damages ran to well over one million dollars. Following the flood, a vigorous movement for flood protection began in Dayton.

The story of the flood protection movement can be told through the political cartoons of the period. The following exhibit of cartoons is taken from the Miami Conservancy District Collection, MS 128, at the Special Collections and Archives at Wright State University.

These political cartoons were published in a variety of newspapers and journals throughout Ohio, including The Columbus Dispatch, The Columbus State Journal, and The Dayton News.

Link to other collections and online exhibits about the 1913 Flood

Dayton Metro Library

Dayton History

Miami Conservancy District