Friday, March 15, 2013

The Great Flood of 1913

In the last 20 years or so, we've had several "floods of the century" in Morgan County, Indiana. There was a horrific flood back in 2008, I recall.

One hundred years ago (on March 25), we had a huge flood around these parts. Thanks to Civil War veteran and local photographer/newspaper publisher J. P. Calvert, we have a photo or two, which my Library included in this nifty handout.

Downtown Mooresville is situated high atop a hill (not a big hill, but still), so it has never flooded.  But folks living in the lower areas of town or in the surrounding country--especially near either fork of the White Lick Creek--were not so fortunate. Take the interurban railway bridge, which was situated near today's state road 67 bridge (just south of Kroger in Mooresville) across White Lick Creek:

Interurban Railway Bridge Collapse (March Flood, 1913)
(Click Images to Enlarge)

Water is a powerful, destructive force, sometimes.

The Great Flood of 1913 resulted from heavy rainfall as multiple storms crossed the midwestern states.  The ground was already saturated (or frozen) in many areas, causing rapid run-off that sent rivers bursting their banks throughout the state.  Damage across Indiana reached at least $25 million (that's in 1913 dollars, folks).

The Great Flood of 1913 forever changed many communities.  We have more recently experienced similar disasters in Indiana, but that March flood a century ago echoes from the distant past.  Few eyewitnesses remain.  We should record their memories before they are gone forever.  These are historic events on the grand stage, and we should preserve the information for future generations.

P.S.  A couple months ago, WISH-TV Channel 8 ran a news story about the Great Flood of 1913 and its effects upon Indianapolis.  Here's a video clip. The Indiana Historical Society created an exhibit, You Are There 1913: A City Under Water, to show modern visitors how relief stations were created to handle the crisis.

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