In March of 1913, the Miami Valley witnessed a natural disaster unparalleled in the region’s history. Three storms converged on the state, dumping 9 to 11 inches of rain March 23-25 on ground already saturated from the melting of ice and snow of a hard winter. A 90-percent runoff rate caused the Great Miami River and its tributary streams to overflow. Every city along the river was inundated with floodwaters.
More than 360 people lost their lives; property damage exceeded $100 million (nearly $2 billion in today’s economy).
In the wake of this tragedy, Miami Valley citizens rallied to initiate plans to prevent future flooding. Some 23,000 citizens contributed more than $2 million to begin a comprehensive flood protection program on a valley-wide basis.
Arthur Morgan, an engineer based in Memphis, Tennessee, was hired to develop the system. The result was an unfailing flood protection system of five dry dams Germantown, Englewood, Lockington, Taylorsville and Huffman and levees that has protected the Miami Valley from flooding by the Great Miami River since 1922.
Today, the system protects
- Tens of thousands of people in 40 municipalities
- More than 48,000 properties in five counties
- More than $5.1 billion worth of buildings and land