1913 Flood

Originally published in 2013 to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the 1913 Flood


This webpage is a companion piece to the article "100 Years Ago at Franklin & Ludlow Streets: The Great Dayton Flood of 1913" that was published in the winter 2013 issue of Vision -- Chaminade Julienne's quarterly alumni magazine -- to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Great Dayton Flood.

Flooding began Easter Sunday, March 23, 1913, bringing nine to 11 inches of precipitation during a five-day period. An estimated four trillion gallons of water (roughly equal to the volume of water that passes over Niagara Falls in 30 four days time) engulfed 14 square miles of downtown Dayton. Waters were reported to crest 10 to 12 feet above ground level, reaching as high as 20 feet in places of lower elevation.

Mud, debris from homes and businesses, and upward of 3,000 horse and animal carcasses littered nearly all areas affected by the flood. The recovery would take years, but eventually culminated in the creation of The Miami Conservancy District in 1914 and the construction of five dams -- Englewood, Germantown, Huffman, Lockington and Taylorsville -- completed in 1922.

The estimated death toll was between 300 to 400, including 123 casualties in the city of Dayton. Property damage was estimated at more than $100 million (well over $2 billion today).

Special thanks to Fr. Angelo Anthony, Gary Geisel and Mary Beemsterboer from Emmanuel Parish; Alex Heckman from Dayton History; and the Dayton Metro Library for their support of and assistance with this project.

Historical Timeline

At Franklin & Ludlow Streets: 1829 To 2013

1829: Opening of the Miami and Eerie Canal connecting Dayton and Cincinnati.

1837: Emmanuel Church built on Franklin Street.

1840: Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur arrive in Cincinnati from Belgium.

1849: SND arrive in Dayton via canal boat, purchase property and adjoining grounds (nearly 1 acre) at Franklin and Ludlow for $4,500. Open Emmanuel parochial school, the city’s first Catholic elementary school, shortly after.

1849: Brothers of Mary (Marianists) arrive in Dayton to avoid cholera epidemic in Cincinnati. Purchase 125-acre Dewbury Farm for $12,000 and a St. Joseph’s medal. Establish St. Mary’s School for Boys, the first of CJ’s predecessor schools, in July 1850.

1871-1873: Emmanuel Church is rebuilt at its current location.

1886: Sisters open Notre Dame Academy, a private secondary school for girls, with 21 total students.

1889: Notre Dame Academy graduates first two alumnae, Flora Forster and Etta Butz.

1904: Original building is demolished, and construction on the corner red brick building commences at Franklin and Ludlow.

1913: “The Great Dayton Flood” hits Miami Valley in late March. In 1914, the Miami Conservancy District is established. Construction of the Englewood, Germantown, Huffman, Lockington and Taylorsville Dams is completed in 1922.

1927: The Marianists purchase the former Notre Dame Academy property and open Chaminade High School.

1927: The Sisters move Notre Dame Academy to Homewood Avenue, renaming the school Julienne High School.

Oct. 17, 1950: Construction on "The New Building" begins, to include a cafeteria, gym and auditorium. The dedication takes place on May 25, 1952.

1956: The "Faculty Residence," including the Chapel, across from Emmanuel Church on Franklin Street (which would later house the Marianist brothers living at the property) is construced to accomodate 48.

1957: The "Sophomore Building" -- across from the Marianist Mission on Franklin Street -- is completed and opened in Jan. 1958, adding 12 more classrooms and a connection to the "Faculty Residence," and later became known as the "Junior Building."

1959: The red brick building on the corner of Franklin and Ludlow is torn down to make room for the new "Administration Building," dedicated on Oct. 16, 1960.

1964: Construction begins on the "1964 Building," which includes nine classrooms and library. Doors open in Sept. 1965.

1973: The owning religious orders decided to merge and open Chaminade Julienne Catholic High School. Renovations like adding a girls' locker room and relocating the band room to a portion of the cafeteria take place to accomodate the merge. Many students from St. Joseph Commerical High School join a year later.

Oct. 7, 1982: "The Eagle Lands" in the courtyard at the entrance to the newly constructed parking lots A & B.

1988: Administrators purchase the building just east of CJ across Perry Street from then owner and Dayton native Ermal Fraze. It is used mainly as an indoor athletic facility up through the 2010-2011 school year.

2010-11: CJ celebrates two anniversaries: 160 years of Catholic secondary education in Dayton and 125 at its current location at Franklin and Ludlow Streets. An Anniversary Assembly is held Feb. 4, 2011.

Fall 2010: Blue Green Field -- the area situated inside of Longworth, Eaker and Perry Streets and formerly home to a DP&L steam plant -- opens for full practice use.

Sept. 22, 2010: The Student Conditioning Center (SCC), located at 77-79 Eaker Street, is converted from a warehouse to a 25,000-square-foot indoor athletic practice and training facility, and dedicated at the 2010 President's Dinner.

Fall 2011: The former indoor athletic facility (commonly known as "The Fraze Building" or "The Faust") at the former corner of Perry and Washington Streets, just east of the main school buidling, is demolished.

Sept. 15, 2011: The Eagle Tennis Center, a six-court facility at the northwest corner of Franklin and Ludlow Streets, is dedicated before the first inaugural match ever held on campus.

Jan. 9, 2013: Plans to open the CJ STEMM Center are announced. The nearly $4 million renovation project will transform much of the second-floor classrooms, laboratories and hallways into state-of-the-art learning spaces for technology and innovation

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Transcript of the SNDdeN Journal

A 2,000-word handwritten account, authored by Sister Helen of the Sacred Heart at Franklin and Ludlow Streets, describes in great detail the tragic Flood of 1913 as it unfolded and the aftermath left in its wake. The transcript of the account has been preserved by the Notre Dame Academy Archives.

     Download the full transcript in PDF format here >

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Photo Gallery

To view more Flood photo galleries, visit the Dayton Metro Library's Dayton Remembers: Preserving the History of the Miami Valley collection online at content.daytonmetrolibrary.org. The collection contains hundreds of photographs depicting the destruction caused by one of Ohio's greatest natural disasters. At the library's Web site, you may also download the the original high-resolution images and view the 1913 Flood Postcards on a map of the Dayton metro area.

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