Flood of 1913

Rescue opertions on Burns Avenue during the Great 1913 Flood. Notice the water line on the building in the background.

MCD was born as a direct result of the Great 1913 Flood.

Flooding was somewhat common in the Dayton region even before the Great Flood. As early as 1805, Dayton was inundated by the Great Miami River. The river overflowed its banks somewhat regularly, with flooding documented in 1814, 1828, 1832, 1847, 1866, 1883, 1897 and 1898. But the Great 1913 Flood was like no other, killing 360 people and causing more than $100 million in damages.

People who survived the devastation were determined to contain the Great Miami River once and for all. Soon after the flood, residents raised enough money to hire a young engineer named Arthur Morgan to develop a solution. MCD was officially formed in 1915. MCD staff built the flood protection system of five dry dams, 43 original miles of levees and channel improvements between 1918 and 1922. An additional 12 miles of levee were built later.

Flood protection has always been – and remains – MCD’s core mission. And, over the years, MCD has branched out to tackle emerging water issues to meet the region’s needs.