Thursday, March 28, 2013

Rain & River, Remembering the Flood of 1913, Logansport, Indiana

Rain & River, Remembering the Flood of 1913, Logansport, Indiana

My wonderful parental units sent us a most fabulous gift for Easter, a book published by the Cass County Historical Society of Logansport, Indiana titled” Rain and River, Remembering The Flood of 1913.  This book was compiled and edited by Thelma Conrad, the curator of the Cass County Historical Museum.

Just 100 years ago this week, the Wabash River flooded my hometown with waters rising to a depth of 15 feet. I remember as a young child visiting my grandparents at their home at 701 Wheatland Avenue and being shown the flood line on the kitchen wall.  One of the photos in this book shows my grandparents’ home surrounded by water.

Apparently this was a thoroughly photographed catastrophic event since there were four professional photography studios in the city. Everybody sought to capture the devastation. Water rose to the level where only boats were able to navigate the streets. Bridges were washed out; houses collapsed; there are photographs of East Market Street that vaguely remind me of Venice (with a little less charm).

I was fascinated to read that within two days of the flooding, as the waters began to subside, Logansport sustained a snowfall. The book reflects recollections by people who were compelled to demolish their remaining furniture for fuel. One of my favorite images is that of a man in overcoat and hat perched atop a cannon in the courthouse park.

This slim 87-page book is an amazing testament to not only local history but also a glimpse into early 20th Century America. The stories illustrate that while we, as a people, have changed, as w hole we have remained the same. We are a society that pulls together to help our fellow citizens in their times of need. During the 1913 flood, citizens from Chicago came on the trains to help; cadets at a nearby academy brought their boats to rescue those who were stranded; People pitched in together to survive and rebuild.

For my readers who are from or who have lived in Cass County, Indiana, I highly recommend that you purchase this book.  It is available for $35 at the Cass County Historical Society website.

And, as a shameless supporter of my Dad’s contributions to the CCHS, I heartily recommend his book profiling citizens of Cass County which is also available for purchase on the website:

The Collected Works of Richard B. Copeland
Biographical sketches of Cass County citizens by County historian Richard Copeland. Soft cover. $20.

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