Friday, February 24, 2012

Libraries and the Ohio Flood of 1913

"In late March 1913, an unusually heavy rainstorm moved into Ohio. It rained steadily for five days and the streams all over Ohio rose rapidly. By the third day of the downpour, levees were overtopped and many towns suffered disastrous flooding. Great fires that raged unchecked added to the destruction and the loss of life. When the flood waters receded, tons of mud and debris covered the streets, homes, businesses and factories. The death toll stood at 361. Property damages were well over $100,000,000 and 65,000 were forced to temporarily leave their homes." The previous quotation is from a description of a photograph in the Ohio Memory Collection showing the flooded Defiance (OH) Public Library. I recently acquired the Real Photograph Postcard shown above which also shows the Defiance Public Library during the 1913 Ohio flood. Defiance received a $22,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie in 1904 for a new public library building. A beautiful site on the grounds of the former Fort Defiance at the confluence of the Maumee and Anglaize Rivers was chosen for the new building. The building opened on July 4, 1905. The Carnegie building (expanded and renovated) is still occupied by the library. Larger cities impacted by the flood of 1913 included Dayton and Columbus. The Dayton Public Library was also flooded. Water was 16 feet deep in the library and caused the loss of 45,000 books (see picture). More on the flood can be found HERE.

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