Posted: 6:03 p.m. Wednesday, March 27, 2013
By Mary McCarty
In her own words
Dayton librarian Minnie Althoff writes of being rescued at last after three days of privation in the downtown library: “By the end of the third day, rescue parties were seen, and word was sent around that those in unsafe buildings could be taken. Someone brought a box of grapefruit; the juice was refreshing, but by this time, my throat was too swollen to swallow. Toward evening, a militia man in a little boat said he was willing to take a few of us out, but at our own risk. In view of what we had been seeing, this sounded ominous, but anxiety for my people gave me courage. I was taken to my brother’s house, there to learn of the safety of my parents, and re-united. Happy and grateful, we were ready to begin again — somewhere.”
Althoff feared that bookbinder Theresa Walter had drowned in the lower floors of the library, but later learned she had escaped. The library lost 45,000 books, about half of its collection, but Althoff and her colleagues kept the losses from being far greater. Althoff died in 1962 at the age of 93.
To learn more about the Great Dayton Flood
Take the Great Dayton Flood Walk: Local historian Leon Bey leads a guided two-hour guided tour through downtown Dayton. For more information, visit gemcitycirclewalks.wetpaint.com or call 274-4749.
Dayton History: “The Great 1913 Flood” is the new permanent exhibit at Carillon Historical Park.
Miamisburg Historical Society: A flood exhibition is open from 1 t0 4 p.m. Wednesday and Saturday at the historic Market Square Building at 4 N. Main St, through June 9, when the city will host “A Tribute to the 1913 Flood” at 4 p.m. at Riverfront Park. Owners of small boats will launch their boat on the Great Miami River and take a 2.5-mile ride downriver.
“Drenched Uniforms and Battered Badges,” by Stephen Grismer, recounts the role of Dayton police during the Great Flood of 1913 and how the police force emerged from the disaster. It describes the efforts of the 136 patrolmen who often acted on their own instincts in the first few days because they were in the field without lines of communication, transportation or supervision. Profits will be shared by Carillon Historical Park and Dayton Police History Foundation, Inc. Orders are being taken by e-mail: info@DaytonPoliceHistory.org or DPHFoundation@woh.rr.com.
Website commemorating the flood’s centennial:http://www.1913flood.com: the most comprehensive site for historical information and photos.
Follow the series: 100 years after the Great Dayton Flood
Sunday: An overview of the causes and events surrounding the historic flood.
Monday: The Dayton Daily News follows the events of March 25 through the written accounts of survivors, including the story of 104-year-old Margaret Kender, now living in Florida.
Tuesday: Flood survivors face new dangers as gas explosions rock the city.
Wednesday: Survivors remain stranded in their attics and on their rooftops, not knowing when rescue might come. Snowfall is a blessing because it extinguishes fires throughout the city.
Today: The water starts to recede and some victims are able to leave their homes and begin the massive task of rebuilding.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE FLOOD
Watch WHIO-TV chief meteorologist Jamie Simpson and reporter Jim Otte’s special report on the Great Dayton Flood of 1913 at http://youtu.be/rFYH9xINZ_Y