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Piqua, located in northern Miami County, is the most upstream local protection feature. Most of the city, including the central business district, lies south and west of the Great Miami River. Rush Creek enters the river north of the city. MCD maintains 2.8 miles of levee and 3 miles of river channel in Piqua. MCD owns and operates a stormwater pump station at the south end of Race Street.



Piqua Flood History

“At Piqua rain fell steadily all-day Saturday and Sunday, March 22 and 23 and then came down in torrents on Monday. Residents there took no alarm when people in Rossville, a low-lying village near Piqua, had to leave their homes; it had happened before and would again, they believed.

Then on Monday, a levee in the northeast part of town broke despite repeated mending. A great volume of water surged through the gap and carried men, women and children and everything else before it, flooded the downtown, and inundated the eastern sections of the community.”

(Becker and Nolan 23-24)


During the 1913 Flood, the Shawnee neighborhood experienced devastation beyond compare. Where an entire block of homes once stood, only foundations were left after as much as 24 feet of floodwater ran through the neighborhood. House after house was dislodged from its base and carried into the river, often with its occupants riding along. At a local bridge, men reached down to rescue people off the homes and debris rushing downstream. Nearly a dozen people were saved this way.

People from flooded districts sought refuge in the Fort Piqua Hotel, where the fourth-floor restaurant facility sustained residents. When the waters receded, local Piqua citizens and organizations banded together to create relief stations, providing food and clothing.


“From almost the first day of the flood, stories of tragedy, suffering, heroism, and selfishness became the stuff of lore. People in Piqua long recalled Clarence White for his derring-do rescues of people from trees and roofs. He saved an old man in Rossville, a Job-like man who had remained in a tree for sixty hours awaiting rescue, all the while singing hymns to sustain his spirit. Richard Bateman, a 57-year-old man, rowed his boat around Piqua for thirty miles through driftwood, roofs and parts of bridges to rescue one hundred people; he received a Carnegie Medal of honor for his valor. C. B. Jamison, a prominent Piqua attorney, lost his life in a magnificent effort to save a woman and her child from the rushing waters” 

(Becker and Nolan 41)



Becker, Carl M., and Nolan, Patrick B. Keeping the Promise: A Pictorial History Of The Miami Conservancy District. Landfall Press, 1988.


Piqua is a coalition member of the Great Miami Riverway. Use our interactive map to discover your next experience in Piqua: shop the historic downtown, take a canal boat ride, paddle the river, bike the Piqua Loop Trail, or learn about Piqua's unique history as a refuge location for former slaves at a local favorite coffee shop.