Anniversary Of Columbus Flood That Killed 100 Sparks Remembrance


UPDATED: Monday March 25, 2013 6:12 PM

Neighborhoods under water, homes upside down, and people just trying to survive. This is what Columbus looked like in March 100 years ago.

In March 1913, rainfall totals reached 6 to 10 inches in just a matter of days.

"The rain started on Easter Sunday, which in 1913, was on March 23. Then, it rained for two days, for 48 hours, steady,” said Lois Neff of the Hilltop Historical Society.

Neff said she interviewed flood survivors in the 1980s and 90s and added their stories and pictures to the Hilltop Historical Society’s flood collection.

Now, that collection includes old newspaper headlines and pictures of twisted railroad lines.

"You don't realize that water has that much impact until you're in it and see what happens."

Nearly 100 people died in Columbus when the Scioto River reached record levels and poured through the west side neighborhoods, Neff said.

Some of the stories Neff has heard from survivors will stick with her for life, she said.

"A lady told me that her father was in the habit of taking his false teeth out at night before he went to bed and he put them on top of their upright piano,” Neff said. “When the flood waters receded and they got back into their house, they found their piano out in the yard and his false teeth were still on top of the piano. I just find that incredible.”

Some estimates put the death toll from the Great Flood of 1913 at close to 1,000 people over a dozen states.

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