After the flood, finding a long-term solution to flooding was job Number 1 in the region. Dayton’s business community, government and professional engineers created a unique partnership and formed the Flood Prevention Committee. The committee formed on May 2, 1913, less than two months after the devastating 1913 flood.
John H. Patterson, president of the National Cash Register (NCR), appointed the community leaders who served on the committee. Colonel Edward Deeds led the committee, which hired Arthur E. Morgan of Morgan Engineering Company of Memphis, to study the flood control problem.
John Patterson was perhaps the most pivotal leader during and after the flood. He shut down his cash register factory to build boats to rescue stranded residents from rooftops and attics. He used his factory land to house and feed the homeless and helped raise the $2 million necessary for the design of the flood protection program.
Edward Deeds held many important positions in Dayton’s largest companies, including co-founder and president of the Dayton Engineering Laboratories Company (Delco), president of NCR and president of the Dayton Metals Products Company. Besides leading the Flood Prevention Committee, Deeds served on the MCD Board of Directors from 1915 until 1954. He donated the office building that MCD still occupies as its headquarters.
Arthur Morgan was a young engineer brought in to end flooding in the region. The Morgan Engineering Company began hiring the brightest and best engineers across the country. Within six months, Morgan would consider multiple options for the flood protection system before settling on an integrated system of five retarding basins each fronted by an earthen dam. Levees would be built in the main cities along the river as well as channel improvements. The entire flood protection system was built simultaneously between 1918 and 1922.