“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Defiance in Defiance County, Ohio — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Flood Poles

Pontiac Park

Flood Poles Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, April 1, 2019
1. Flood Poles Marker

The Beginning, Sunday March 23, 1913
The rain began on Sunday, no one knew that the Maumee and Auglaize Rivers would rise to record heights and not crest for four days. By Monday, the Wabash Pumping Station was completely surrounded by water and its fires were extinguished leaving the residents without treated water. On Tuesday, the electric lines feeding the East Side were cut as a precaution. On Wednesday, the Mule Bridge had lost 2 spans at 4:05 AM. By 9 AM water was moving across the floor of the 2nd & Hopkins Street bridges. By 10Am, the Hopkin's Street bridge lost its west span when it was struck by a barn and was completely down by 2 PM. The B&O Railroad Bridge was weighted down with sand bags and a loaded train kept on it the entire time. Loads of ballast were dumped into the river.

Citizens met to form a Relief Association in the afternoon. The public schools were let out and opened to those who had lost their homes in the flood. St. Paul's M.E., the Presbyterian and Baptist Churches also opened their doors to flood victims. Families reported going without food for 48 hours and surviving
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with only the clothes on their backs. By Wednesday, the entire town was without water or gas and the East Side was also without electricity.

The "Telephone Girls” stayed at their posts throughout the entire ordeal making sure that calls went through. Firemen and volunteer workmen worked throughout the day on Monday carrying and loading furniture into moving vans helping to mitigate the loss to local families. The National Guard, local police and fire worked throughout the dark, wet nights until the rivers crested knocking on doors and warning families to evacuate their homes.

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Dealing with the Aftermath
Headquarters for Flood Relief were opened in the Crosby House Hotel at the corner of Wayne and Third. Citizens were asked to donate cots, bedding or money. Wagons were sent out to pick up donations. The Board of Health was organized to inspect homes and the local Militia Co G were on patrol for looters.

By Friday morning, Sherwood called and offered to send men to help with the cleanup. Toledo called to offer Hospital services. Jewell also offered to help raise relief funds.

Defiance Board of Health
The Board of Health issued the following orders: Boil all water from wells & cisterns as it contains typhoid germs.
Flood Poles Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, April 1, 2019
2. Flood Poles Marker
The floors and walls should be scrubbed well with what they called "Green Soap". It was a liquid soap and should be done as soon as the water recedes. Cellars must be thoroughly scrubbed and sprinkled with lime. They advised that Lime was the cheapest and best disinfectant to be had. 268 Houses were placarded as uninhabitable until repaired, disinfected and inspected.

Second Street Bridge & Lower East Side
Citizens stand at the west end of the Second Street Bridge and look across to the flood ravaged lower East Side. Over 30 homes were lost in just that section of town. Power lines that had fed the East Side had been cut earlier in the week as the waters rose. This photo was taken as the waters were receding as snow was only reported after the ordeal. Photo from the Edward Bronson Collection.

What is a Flood Pole?
Three Flood Poles sit at the confluence of the Maumee and Auglaize Rivers. They mark three of the highest floods recorded since 1913. Accurate records were not kept before that time. The project was funded by the Rover Pipeline.
Erected by Historic Homes of Defiance.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Disasters. A significant historical date for this entry is March 23, 1913.
Location. 41° 17.338′ N, 84° 21.303′ W. Marker is in Defiance

Flood Poles Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Craig Doda, April 1, 2019
3. Flood Poles Marker
, Ohio, in Defiance County. Marker is on East River Drive (Ohio Route 424), on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Defiance OH 43512, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Buckeye Trail (within shouting distance of this marker); Chief Pontiac (within shouting distance of this marker); Johnny Appleseed (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); French Indian Apple Tree (about 600 feet away); Bark Cabin Home of Coohcoohe (about 600 feet away); Pontiac Birthplace (about 600 feet away); Civil War Cannons (about 700 feet away); Buffalo Were Recorded Here In 1718 (about 700 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Defiance.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 11, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 10, 2021, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 201 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on May 10, 2021, by Craig Doda of Napoleon, Ohio. • J. Makali Bruton was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 3, 2024