MUM program to discuss ‘The Great Flood’

Looking at history from Middletown’s view.

“Last year was the 100th anniversary of the flood. Miami Hamilton and the City of Hamilton planned a whole host of events for that program, but there wasn’t a lot of attention brought to it in Middletown. I felt like this was something the history buffs in the area would really be interested in,” said Ruth Orth, Verity Traditions program coordinator and public affairs and marketing, Miami University Middletown.

We are starting to offer a lot of history programs, because the community has shown an interest in these types of programs, she said.

During the program, Mark Risley will give a PowerPoint presentation that will follow the story of the flood — from the conditions that created it to the establishment of today’s dam system that has prevented it from happening again.

“The Great Flood of 1913 adversely affected communities all along the Great Miami River from Piqua to Dayton to Hamilton and beyond. It garnered world-wide attention as one of the most photographed and documented disasters of the early 20th century. Its recovery was remarkable and the response to the flood established the standard in flood control still being used throughout the world today,” said expert Mark Risley.

“During the time, it was quite a tragedy. People lost their lives, and a lot of farm land, and homes were flooded out,” Risley continued. “In the long run, they were able to develop a flood control system that incorporated widening the river basins, adding height to the levees, and also developing a damn system to control the waters, and keeping them from rushing down the river corridor in such a great amount.”

Not only was the airplane developed in the Dayton area, but also a flood control system that continues to be used all over the world, he said.

Risley, serves as the president of The Oakwood Historical Society and has given numerous presentations on a variety of topics from aviation and meteorology to historical architecture as well as The Great Flood of 1913. Additionally, he is a regular moderator for The University of Dayton Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. He also served on the steering committee for commemorations pertaining to the 100th anniversary of the Great Flood.

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