Low and Dry
A Story of Miami Valley Flood Control
The Vocational English Class
Of Steele High School
Printed by boys of the Printing Department
Steele High School
LOW AND DRY
Miss Frances Brown
To whom we owe some of the best, happiest, and well spent hours of our lives, this book is gratefully dedicated by her appreciative class.
Joe V. Colley……………..Editor-in-Chief
Jenna Bee Shetterly………….Asst. Editor-in-Chief
Miss Frances Brown……..Adviser and Critic
On the 1913 Flood—Frances Robertson, Chairman; Hazel Kanemann, Dorothy Curp.
On Regional Survey and Adopted Plan—Orpha Simmons, Chairman; Jenna Bee Shetterly, Mildred Plocher, Ann Pfeiffer.
On the Conservancy Act—Rosina Hyre, Chairman; Elizabeth Powell.
On River Improvement—Joe V. Colley Chairman; Violet Bohn.
On the Conservancy Dams—John Setzer, Chairman; Wilbur Reiter.
WE THANK YOU
We wish to thank the many people who have helped us, among who are Mr. Teeple, Mr. Kuhns, and Mr. Shea of the Miami Conservancy District, Mr. Heist of the National Cash Register Company, the member of the Dayton School Board, The Thompson Printing Company of Dayton, and the students of the Printing Department of Steele High School
Perhaps our readers will be curious to know, just why an English class should undertake such a task as writing a book. After our class was properly organized in orderly co-operation we discussed the subject of writing a book. We thought that it would be more interesting to do this than to continue the ordinary routine of essays, compositions, and general English work. At the same time we would receive training in compositions and oral work, but in a manner in which every student would really enjoy participation. The result was better grades and no slackers in our class.
After finally deciding that we would write a book about the Miami Conservancy, the next question was how we should proceed in order to get material. The very first thing we did was to divide the class into groups, each group electing a chairman. Then the topics we wanted to discuss were divided among the groups, each individual member of the class having some special subject write upon. After sufficient time had been devoted to research work, preliminary reports were given in form of talks in class. A written report then followed, which, having been criticized was returned for correction and final revision. The assembling of the material for the book was the next step. An editor and assistants were elected. Their duty was to get the finished articles into one well arranged volume, including an index.
In the writing of this book the authors have kept in mind the necessity of eliminating technical and engineering phrases, for it was not the purpose to give an exhaustive and detailed report of the work planned and accomplished by the Miami Conservancy District, but to set forth in terms that will be readily understood by all, the story of the Miami Valley and its flood control.
Introduction, foreword, and dedication were given as special assignments to various groups with suggestions from the class in general. The next matter for consideration was the title of the book. Each pupil in the class was asked to suggest a name. Co-operation of the students was splendidly shown in every phase of the work, and the result is “Low and Dry” or the “The Story of Miami Valley Flood Control.”
For ages man has been uniting his efforts with his knowledge of engineering in trying to protect himself from devastating waters. Floods have always been one of the greatest causes of destruction. The Creator chose this means of destroying the earth, in order to punish the handful of people who then inhabited it. Who does not know the story of Noah and the ark? He was the only man who listened to the warning through the scoffs and jests of his people. He built the ark and was prepared.
Man has come to know through his experiences with nature, that rivers cannot be removed from the earth, that no matter how high his river walls are built, he cannot keep water from destroying lives, property and wealth unless an effort is directed at the source of all this destruction.
Just such an effort was made by the people of the Miami Valley after the great flood of 1913. This great catastrophe welded the people of that community into an organization based on fellowship and co-operation that rivals the Phoenix of old into its sudden growth. Like that mythological bird, the Miami Valley Conservancy sprang from the ruins of a great disaster.
From the pens of authors, great and illustrious, gripping stories of floods have come. The present authors do not presume to attempt anything of that kind. They simply wish to convey their sincere feelings in regard to the remarkable work being done in this valley.
If one thinks of the awfulness, the horror, the appalling scenes of a flood, a prayer of thanks almost involuntarily arises because so much is being done for future safety.
GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF THE MIAMI VALLEY
The Miami Valley gives geological evidence of very old formation. Before the glacial period the surface of south-western Ohio was probably similar to the present surface of northeastern Kentucky. The top soil had been drained by high waters to such an extent that its fertility was greatly impaired.
Then the glaciers came, slowly edging their way over this region and constantly changing the formation of the soil. They hollowed out lake basins and river channels, rounded off mountains, and completely changed the appearance of what is now known as the Miami Valley. All of these things which the glaciers did served to form very fertile soil, but at the same time they filled up the river channels with gravel and other sediment. The glaciers did not stop after having changed things once, but built up and tore down many times. Thus it happened that once upon a time the Miami River flowed south through the valley of Mosquito Creek near Sidney and into the Mad River valley near Osborn.
The Miami River now is about 200 miles long and has its source in Logan County. The tributaries are the Whitewater River, Flashy Creek, Twin Creek, Wolf Creek, Mad River
and Stillwater River. All of these rivers together drain an area of 5430 square miles in southwestern Ohio. It is not remarkable that with four rivers uniting within the city limits of Dayton there should be many floods in this vicinity. These four streams which meet in Dayton are Miami River, Mad River, Stillwater River, and Wolf Creek.
The Miami River is now a very small descendant of a once great river which filled the entire valley to a width of from five to ten miles. It has dug for itself a meandering sort of channel back and forth across the valley. Once in a great while the river rises to its prehistoric banks and the result is a very disastrous flood such as the one of 1913.
EARLY CONDITIONS OF THE VALLEY
The Miami Valley in the year 1796 was inhabited by Indians of many different tribes. It was a fertile tract of land with smooth, even slopes and hills. The southern part was covered by valuable forests. The chief steam was the Miami River. This river was very picturesque in the summer time with its long, winding course, walled on both sides with its huge trees, its banks dotted with the pyramid shaped homes of the Indians, and the rippling current dancing long in a carefree way as if all the world were sunshine.
But very often the spring of the year was not so fortunate as to find this child of nature in such a pleasing mood. During the month of March it would rise and cover the lower portions of the valley with varying depths of water. To the Indian this was not a cause of annoyance as he could easily move his family. His home which was simply a tent, could be transferred to the highland and left there until the river returned to its course. To him the rising of the Miami was an advantage instead of a hindrance as it left the land covered with a sediment which was valuable in the growing of Maize or Indian corn, and it also furnished rich pasture for his horses.
THE FOUNDING OF DAYTON
When white men discovered this country, they were not satisfied to live as their forefathers had lived. By 1800 there were settlers as far inland as Cincinnati, Ohio. One bright morning in September a Group of about one hundred persons started out to find a new home. In a few weeks they reached what is now called Dayton, Ohio. Upon their arrival here, they were very discouraged. Food was scarce, the hostility of the Indians kept them in constant fear, and spring was approaching finding them without means of protection against the rising waters of the Miami.
They then set about devising some plan by which they could successfully overcome these obstacles. Finally they succeeded in securing a Peace treaty with the Indians. Then they attempted to solve the river question, but were unsuccessful as we all know.
Then they offered small tracts of land as an inducement to all people who would come here and help put this place on the map.
Their scheme worked well. In a short time homes were built, factories opened, and people who had once made fun of the little party of explorers were willing to invest large sums of money in business enterprises. No doubt it is to this little group of ambitious, progressive Cincinnatians who were instrumental in the founding of Dayton, that credit should be given for much of our success as a city today.
HISTORY OF FLOODS IN MIAMI VALLEY PREVIOUS TO 1913
The Miami Valley always has been subject to inundation. The first terrifying experience of this kind on record occurred in 1805 when Dayton had been settled less than ten years. After this flood it was seriously urged that the present site should be abandoned, and a new plat made on the higher ground to the east. The plan was defeated and Dayton stayed where she was meant to be, on the ground floor of the valley. But something had to be done to safeguard the property and lives of the citizens. A river bank at the head of Jefferson Street was built up eight feet, and continued down the curve of the river, west, and south.
In 1814 the three rivers again burst their bounds under the impetus of spring rains, and destroyed the levee which had been constructed with so much faith following the flood of 1805. Small efforts at patching up the banks and strengthening the levees were made, only to meet the same fate in 1828, 1832, and again in 1847. It was evident that someway and somehow the rivers must be fixed to prevent such disasters as had previously occurred. Efforts were made to increase the waterway of the river by adding a span to both the Main Street and Third Street bridges. But the whole effort was a makeshift, and the people were beginning to find it out.
Dayton’s peculiar position at the confluence of three spasmodically uncontrollable streams made her the constant victim of such circumstances, while the towns in the upper and lower region of the valley were scarcely more fortunate. It was clearly a situation which demanded a new treatment. What this treatment should be nobody knew, and so the situation resolved itself into periodical efforts to patch up the levees, and into continued argument as to what ought to be done. Then came the great flood of 1913. It gave the needed demand for permanent and adequate flood protection for all future years.
CAUSES OF 1913 FLOOD
Conditions in the Miami Valley which were responsible for former floods were contributing causes of the 1913 catastrophe. For instance, constant rushing of the sometimes swift current against the levees or embankments had left them weak at many points. The river channels were clogged up with rubbish and sediment. Then, too, the soil of the land is of such nature that it can not absorb a great quantity of water, but sheds it quickly, letting it run off into the rivers.
Those were the minor reasons, but there were two great causes for the 1913 flood. One was the heavy rainfall of the preceding week, which thoroughly saturated the ground. The other was the unusually heavy rainfall which occurred the following Sunday evening. Ninety percent of the water flowed directly to the rivers.
On the morning of March 25th, 1913, the citizens of Dayton and surrounding towns awakened to find the streets covered with water. Although greatly surprised to find such conditions, they were not greatly frightened. In a few hours the water rose to several feet. But the city officials informed the people that there was still no immediate danger, and in case there should be, they would be notified in plenty of time.
But when the sudden rush of water came, all were taken unaware, and the people sought protection from the cruel waters in the upper stories of their homes, in the higher branches of the trees, and on the roofs of buildings. Fortunately it occurred early in the morning, before many people had gone to their work, or the children to school. Between seven and eight o’clock the water came in a great rush, taking with it like a hungry beast whatever came within its grasp.
Men, women, and children were forced to leave their homes from upper story windows and ride the currents on rafts of crude construction. Their cries for help were heartbreaking. For three long days and nights many were without food or shelter. By the second day, in some places, the water had reached a height of twenty-eight feet and three inches.
They kept a watch through the long nights, waiting and praying. No one knew at the time from whence this demon had come, how much longer it would last, or how much higher it would rise. It was not an uncommon sight to see flames, due to explosions, sweeping the city for blocks. After a week’s time the water subsided and many were awakened from their spell of terror to the fact that they were destitute, and without homes, and many had lost their dear ones.
As the National Cash Register plant was situated on high ground large numbers of people rushed to this place of safety. A line of cars filled with bags of sand and with long planks laid on top of them, were used to convey the rescued people there. The factory was turned into a large rooming house. In one room all the cooking was done, while other rooms were used for sleeping quarters. A very large room was set off as a morgue for the dead who could not be identified. Also for the benefit of people living near the N. C. R. they had free food dispensaries. For several weeks after the flood there could be seen a long line of people patiently waiting for their loaves of bread.
Many homes were destroyed, and therefore school buildings were thrown open for the use of all. Everyone had some work to do while there. The children were assigned small tasks, while the women did the main part of the cooking. This was not a small task, because it was necessary to keep food prepared all the time ready for the men who were working on the streets.
The first step was a relief committee. Mr. John H. Patterson was made president. As chairman of the committee, Mr. Patterson received plans from the people. He called a general meeting of the citizens on April 20th. It was felt that what the people of the valley desired they would do quickly and efficiently. Resolutions were adopted: (1) That there should be prompt and definite action to determine the cause of the flood; (2) That there should be provided a flood prevention fund of $2,000,000.
The immediate results of the resolutions were:
1. On May 5th, 1913, the Morgan Engineering Company was employed to report on the plans for the flood prevention, and Mr. Arthur E. Morgan, as president, was to assume personal charge.
2. May 25th and 26th, 1913 were designated as “Dayton Days” and plans were made for the campaign for funds.
3. Representatives from neighboring cities were invited to a meeting on May 15th, to discuss co-operation on flood prevention work in the whole valley. It was Mr. E. A. Deeds’ idea, seconded by Mr. Morgan, that the valley should be taken as a unit and specific plans be adopted which would include all areas likely to be devastated by floods.
THE CONSERVANCEY BUILDING
On Monument Avenue, directly east of Steele High School and overlooking the south bank of the Miami, stands a building which has been but recently added to the number of beautiful structures which adorn our city.
It was built in the years of 1915 and 1916 by Mr. and Mrs. E. A. Deeds who have been so active in many undertakings for the betterment of Dayton, and presented to the Miami Conservancy District. The entire administrative, appraisal, and engineering forces were soon moved into their new home, which is used as a general office building.
In it are the Drafting Rooms, the Accounting department, the Administrative department, and the Purchasing department.
In the Drafting Rooms the plans for carrying on the work are prepared; the Accounting department keeps a record of the money transactions; the Administrative department pays all the bills; and the Purchasing department procures all materials used in the work.
The building is a three-story structure, 45 ft. by 90 ft. in dimensions. It is fireproof, being composed of stone, mortar and metal, having no timber anywhere in its construction. The doors and window frames are of bronze and the inside partitions are of glass and steel. The exterior is of Bedford limestone.
As the building did not prove to be of sufficient size for the work to be carried on properly, an annex has been built directly in front of the main structure. It is about the same dimensions as the latter, but is composed of concrete and is not fireproof, as it has wooden floors.
We have been informed that after the flood protection work of the Miami Valley has been completed, the annex will be torn down, leaving the beautiful main building as an everlasting monument to the generosity of its donors, to the matchless spirit of the people who made this work possible, and to the greatest work of this kind ever attempted.
THE MORGAN ENGINEERING COMPANY
At the request of the Flood Prevention Committee, Arthur E. Morgan, President of the Morgan Engineering Company, came to Dayton on May 5, 1913, personally to take charge of the investigation for the prevention of future floods.
The Flood Prevention Committee had thought at first it would simply make a short investigation, then secure a competent engineer and that surely there would “dirt flying by fall.” But upon further investigation, Edward A. Deeds, chairman of the Flood Prevention Committee, said:
“That committee was appointed to make a study of the flood situation, and take whatever steps were necessary to prevent a recurrence of the disaster. I do not think any one on the committee at that time, had any appreciation of what was asked of it. We thought that we probably could get some local protection. In fact, we thought out a system of local protection in a small way at our first meeting. But we made a trip south to Miamisburg and to other cities. We went north, and we began to get a view of this thing in a bigger way, that there was a thing that affected the whole valley, and we saw immediately that we were not competent to handle the situation ourselves. We had had enough business experience in large matters to know that we should get assistance, and we immediately started out to locate some one who had experience in the control of floods. Inquiry led to the Morgan Engineering Company of Memphis.”
After careful investigation, Mr. Morgan said, that the flood prevention problem had been underestimated and no definite action could be taken for six months or a year. He said that waiting for federal aid would be perhaps useless, and the best thing to do was to go ahead and get what was needed and pay for it.
After the plan proposed by Arthur E. Morgan was adopted by the local government, it was found that the machinery which they had was incapable of doing the work. So the plan was taken to the state legislature to be brought before the next session.
After some deliberation the government decided that Mr. Morgan’s plan of the dry reservoir was the safest and the best.
The engineers immediately began their work, which was divided under the following heads: Survey, Investigations, Construction plan, and Appraisal Data.
When the plan was made and approved, the next important things was the necessary finances to carry it along successfully. This money was obtained through bonds issued by the district to be protected, these bonds to be paid off by taxes levied on all land that would be benefited by the enterprise.
The Morgan Engineering Company was employed to undertake the work and they proceeded to investigate and act. A survey of the river was made, the weak points of the levees strengthened and low points raised. Underbrush was cut out of the channel, flood gates put in at the entrance of the hydraulic above Dayton, and in the canal at Apple Street. Above Steele dam the levees were raised to provide a free-board of three feet at a time when 75,000 feet of water is passing over the dam. Between the Steel dam and Main Street bridge the channel was deepened and straightened, the sharp turn north of the bridge cut off, and the mouth of the Mad River reconstructed. The river below the city was straightened, additional rain gauges were installed over the watershed, and stream gauges established. The above measures were only preliminary. Then the great work began in the valley above and below Dayton.
The Plan outlined by Mr. Morgan involved the building of five retarding basins at controlling points on the more important streams, and of improving the levees and river channels at all of the towns and cities. The above plan was drawn up after careful study and thoughtfulness considering expense and permanent protection for the future.
THE OFFICIAL PLAN
There have been many great floods in the Miami Valley, but the greatest of which have any knowledge is the one of March, 1913. The greatness and frequency of probable future floods must be judged not only from the record of past occurrences in this valley, but also from what has occurred in neighboring territory subject to similar conditions. The rainfall records and reports of great storms show that storms of greater intensity han the one of 1913 have occurred in southern Illinois and in Iowa. It would therefore be possible for them to occur in Ohio.
The first question to be decided was against how great a flood should the valley be protected. After numerous comparisons of plans, and estimates of cost had been made, it was planned that protection should be provided against the greatest possible flood. This applied to the entire Miami Valley with the exception of localities where minor damage from moderate overflow would not justify the cost of local protection. After rainfall and flood investigations had been made it was the final decision to provide protection against floods about 40 per cent greater than the flood of 1913.
Some plans which might be worked out for a particular section of the valley seemed adequate, while the same plans applied to a different section might be inadequate. The protection of the Miami Valley as a whole by channel improvement alone was found to be so expensive to construct and so difficult to maintain as to be entirely out of the question. Channel improvement was found to be efficient for some cities, but entirely impossible for others. By-passes for carrying flood water around the cities were found to be too expensive for much consideration. The reservoirs for combined flood protection and power purposes were not found to be practical in any part of the Miami Valley. To use this latter method a great amount of land would be necessary for storage space besides that required to hold the flood water. This plan has been worked out to advantage in Europe, but in the Miami Valley, the loss, due to permanently submerging many acres of valuable agricultural land, would be greater than would be justified by the resulting benefits. Under the retarding basin system these lands will continue to be cultivated and will increase in fertility.
The best method was found to be a system of retarding basins supplemented by local channel improvements, the improvement by each method being carried to a point where further protection could be more economically secured by another method. For instance, there were numerous possible locations for dams to form the retarding basins. One location might be most favorable for a dam, while another would show more favorable conditions for a conduit or spillway. However, as seen from the economical standpoint this might be impracticable, for investigations of the soil might show unfavorable conditions in the underlying rock to make the construction of the dam within a reasonable cost.
As can be plainly seen, this policy of comparison and elimination was followed over the entire project, both with regard to retarding basins and to channel improvements.
This plan of flood control was approved for several reasons, the first of which is the fact that protection can be brought to the communities in the shortest possible time. To dredge the Miami River and construct cut-offs through the cities, reconstruct bridges, streets, buildings, etc., would require a score of years. Work on the reservoirs and dams may be carried on simultaneously and completed within five years after work is started.
The cost of protection for the entire Miami Valley for reservoirs will be considerable less than similar protection secured by channel improvement methods undertaken by each city or county. The amount that Butler county alone would have to pay for protection by channel improvements would furnish protection by the other plan for every city farm between Sidney and Hamilton. This gives an idea of the immense cost of the river improvement plan as compared to the adopted plan.
THE LEGAL SIDE OF THE CONSERVANCY PROJECT
A Change in Plans
The original plans of the flood protection work were very different from those now being carried out. It was planned that not only Dayton, but other communities in the Miami Valley should be considered in the investigation they were going to make. In order that no reasonable possibilities of flood protection should be overlooked, the committee in charge and the engineers examined every possible method.
The earliest expectation of the Morgan Engineering Company and the Board of Consulting Engineers was to improve the collateral protection work. But it soon became evident local improvement for each city and town in the valley would be financially impossible for the smaller communities.
It became apparent that a system of reservoirs would make it possible to protect the entire valley from floods at only a fraction of the cost required for local improvements.
By a plan which makes it possible for the whole valley to be protected by means of a system of storage reservoirs together with local channel betterments, the small cities like Miamisburg and the agricultural lands in the valley can obtain protection. Their individual efforts for merely local improvements would be hopeless.
The preceding plans would necessitate the forming of a district of all the counties involved in this great work.
Inadequacy of Existing Laws
Never before in the history of the United States has a Taxing District been formed of the counties and cities involved in a great movement. Heretofore taxes for anything of this nature were collected from the city or county. Ditches, levees, and bridges were constructed under different acts and channels were cleaned under still another. But such a great undertaking as this could not be carried out under laws that had been made with certain local requirements and problems in mind which were altogether too limited to meet the provisions of such a great cooperative undertaking as protecting the entire Miami Valley from floods.
It was necessary to have a taxing district covering quite an area and in order to do this an entirely new set of laws was needed.
It was necessary that many changes be made such as readjusting streets, constructing bridges, dams, levees, and ditches, changing railroads and highways. Right-of-way had to be secured through city and rural districts, dames paid and cost equally distributed among the many and individual properties that would be benefited by the improvement.
Preparing a New Law
Mr. Morgan, while in the midst of the development of the plans, was obliged to seek state legislation covering the requirements of this contemplated enterprise and he did this from an engineer’s point of view. He collected copies of existing drainage laws from different states and various European countries.
In Order that no provisions be overlooked these American and European Water Control Laws were examined as to every detail.
Some of the important points were:
There must be wide freedom of action to carry out any type of improvement, and to do any reasonable thing which should be required by plans for flood control.
Since the most efficient and effective agency in our country today for getting things done, is the corporation, such improvements should be handled under corporate forms and management.
There must be absence of politics.
A flood control organization must have governmental powers such as right of eminent domain, police power, taxing power, etc.
The laws must harmonize with existing governmental machinery.
It must make possible all methods of cooperation with corporations, cities, counties, with the home state or other states, and with the national government.
It must be fair and not arbitrary.
It should provide control over steam obstructions and over the ownership and use of water.
It must be a general law, suitable to any situation, and so comprehensive that it will not need amendment to fit some other situation that may arise in some other part of the state.
These needs and many others were covered in the bill that was written.
When Mr. Morgan completed a rough draft of it he submitted it to Judge O. B. Brown, and Hon. John A McMahon, legal counsel for the Miami Conservancy.
Several months were spent by Mr. McMahon in examining every detail of the proposed law and putting it into proper legal form. He considered the final draft to be one of the greatest achievements of his legal career.
The assistance of the Honorable John M. Dillon of New York City, and Judge Horace S. Oakley, of Chicago, was secured by the Flood Prevention Committee, who realized the importance of this work. After many conferences between engineers and attorneys it was finally drawn up and when completed was in accordance with generally accepted principles of financial and governmental administration and permitted the application of good engineering practice to all phases of the work.
It was presented to the Legislature in January, 1914, was passed in the House by a vote of 89 to 18, in Senate with only one opposing vote, and was signed by Governor Cox on March 17, 1914.
Provisions of the Conservancy Act
This law which had been made for the purpose of enabling the Conservancy to carry on the splendid work of making the Miami Valley immune from floods was broad enough to consider work of this kind at another time and place.
Thus it provides for the establishment of Conservancy districts in Ohio, through petition of property owners to the court of Common Pleas of any county that is wholly or partly within the proposed district for any or all of the following purposes:
Regulating stream channels by changing, widening, and deepening of same.
Reclaiming or filling wet and overflowed lands.
Providing for irrigation where it may be needed.
Regulating the flow of streams.
Diverting, or in whole or in part eliminating water courses; and, incident to such purposes and to enable their accomplishment, to straighten, widen, deepen, divert, or change the course or terminus of any natural or artificial water course; to build reservoirs, canals, levees, walls, embankments, bridges, or dams; to maintain, operate and repair any of the construction herein named; and to do all of the other things necessary for the fulfillment of the purposes of this act.
A Common Pleas judge is chosen from each county having land in the district.
The court that is composed of these judges decides the organization of a district by a majority of votes.
If the court decides in favor of the district it becomes the Conservancy court of that district. It then appoints a board of three directors to manage the district who have the authority to employ engineers, attorneys, and other assistants as they think necessary.
It is the duty of the Board of Directors in managing the construction of a district to cooperate with the federal government, with the governments of any other state, with other conservancy districts, with private parties, or with public or private corporations.
The chief engineer prepares the plan for improvement which is passed upon by the Board of Directors.
After the court has held a formal hearing of objections by property owners affected by the district, the plans are put under the subjection of its approval.
The Conservancy Court then appoints a board of three appraisers who make an appraisal of all benefits and damages concerning properties affected by the execution of the proposed plan.
The affected property owners are given due notice that they may have an opportunity for filing exceptions to any part or all of the appraisal. After a hearing, the court must formally act on the appraisal record. The construction of the proposed improvement can then be financed by issuing bonds. The right to appeal from his award of benefits or damages is given to any owner and he may have his case heard before a jury in the county in which his property is located.
The Method of Organizing a District
In order that the reader may have a clear conception of the steps taken before the actual work can begin, we mention the various proceedings.
Property owners file petition for organization of district.
Property owners file bond to cover expenses.
Court publishes notice of hearing on petition.
Property owners file objections to organization of district.
Court holds hearing and decides to organize or not to organize the district.
Court appoints three directors and three appraisers.
Directors employ secretary, attorney and engineers, and prepare plans.
Directors publish notice of hearing of plan.
Property owners file objections to adoption of the plan.
Directors hold hearing and adopt official plan.
Property owners file objections to approval of official plan.
Court hears and passes on objection to official plan.
Appraisers appraise benefits and damages.
Appraisers file appraisal of benefits and damages.
Court publishes notice of hearing on appraisals.
Property owners file exceptions to appraisal.
Property owners’ appeal on appraisals.
Directors prepare and file conservancy assessment record.
Property owners have 30 days in which to pay assessments in full.
Directors issue bonds and have works constructed.
The money needed for the work of a district may be obtained from three separate funds.
A preliminary fund consisting of a tax levied on the property in the district, not to exceed three-tenths of a mill on its assessed valuation.
A bond fund, provided by the special assessment of benefits as approved by the courts.
A maintenance fund which is derived from a special assessment levied annually.
It is worth noting that a chance to appeal to the courts is given with every important step, thus fully protecting the rights of property owners.
THE ROUGH ROAD TO SUCCESS
Never in the history of the world has any great work been proposed which has not met with opposition of some kind. It is simply human nature and will be thus as long as men are human beings with human frailities.
Simply to tell how the act was formed and passed without relating some of the difficulties that were met in so doing would be altogether insufficient. It may have been supposed by some people that opposition to anything of this nature is caused by wrong motives on the part of the individual. However, this is not so. A man after he has won success in his work and established a reputation for himself, is rather cautious about risking the secure position he has gained upon something which at the start is rather doubtful and uncertain. This is particularly so when the problem to be considered is one which would place a heavy burden of taxation upon him. A person in such a position is apt to look with aloofness or suspicion on anything of this sort as from experience he has learned that public money is not always used to the best advantage and that sometimes a public project is backed by individual interests. Therefore, he does not receive the proposition graciously until its various merits have been made clear to him.
One of the chief causes for the opposition was that one feature of the plan completely turned the tables of custom and introduced a new method of taxation. Before this every public project depended upon the city or county in which it was located for funds. People had been taught to regard counties as the boundary lines of such undertakings and to see this idea suddenly discarded, as might be a pair of old shoes, did not find favor in many eyes but instead a strong disapproval. The Miami Conservancy, in order to do its work in a logical, discernible manner, needed a cooperation of every part involved as much as a company of soldiers need to work together in a spirit of fellowship and cooperation if they as one great body expect to win a victory. Nothing can be done when each member works in the opposite direction.
In order to get this cooperation, the Conservancy found it most advantageous to unite all the counties included in the district as one great taxing area.
Of course this new idea did not delight the politicians as it broke down all legal boundaries without providing any new jobs or adding to the power of any old ones. It should be noted as has been mentioned elsewhere in this book that the board of control has only three members. Anyone who is at all familiar with political affairs will realize that this is an unheard-of thing for political committees are always large, providing a great number of jobs for men who do little. The directors are given supreme power and have the right to exercise their discretion.
The average man is too uninformed about engineering practice and is too busy to understand it thoroughly. Such men are an easy prey to men with an understanding of human nature who wish to oppose the plan for their own selfish gain. By means of tact and skill these men are able to promote a feeling of fear, suspicion, distrust or hatred. Their effect upon the public in general is none too good and does by no means aid public confidence in the undertaking.
Another reason for adverse criticism was the fact that the interest of the people which had been at white heat directly after the flood, began to wane. This was due to the fact that the memory of that awful time was dimmed by the passage of months. Folks who had so willingly dug into their pockets in order to make this work possible could not understand why so much time had to be spent in solving the problems involved and deciding upon a plan. They were anxious to see the “dirt fly” and this necessary lapse of time seemed to them to be utterly wasted. This and many other reasons, which sprang up here and there, added to the prejudice which was taking a strong hold on some of the people.
Matters had been running along smoothly until it was announced that the Dayton Flood Prevention Committee had decided in favor of the retarding basin plan. This plan necessitated the cooperation of all members of the valley in order that it might be executed properly.
The general features of the plan were explained in all cities in the valley at public meetings held during October, November, December, and January. The cities below Dayton gave them no trouble, as it had already been proved that local improvement would be utterly impossible financially. This being the case they readily agreed to the plan. But this was not the case with the cities in the upper part of the valley above Dayton. They are situated where the streams are much smaller and local improvement for them would not be utterly impracticable. Another factor which entered into the question was the fact that the dams and retarding basins would cause not a little disturbance to property owners, railroads and highways in their immediate vicinity. These people were unfamiliar with flood protection by means of retarding basins and thus were easily prejudiced against it. So when this plan was announced on October 4, 1913, a violent opposition was in evidence at Troy, Piqua, Sidney, West Milton, Osborn, and Springfield. Although public meetings were held in these places in order to give a clear idea of the plans, little was done as it was difficult to secure even a respectful hearing.
The Miami Conservancy by being absolutely truthful and trustworthy in their dealings with the public, had hoped to gain its confidence. But the opposition party by means of cleverly worded statements and misrepresentations succeeded partially in destroying the good-will of the people. However, the Miami Conservancy knew that the most effective manner of meeting the opposition was by means of educating the public. Meetings were held in which the plans were discussed and placed where people could see them. One of the engineers, a graduate who had some newspaper experience, wrote various articles for the newspapers explaining the different phases of the work that the people might understand the steps that were taken and the reasons for them. Public meetings were held in all the cities and towns affected and illustrated lectures were given.
A 45-page booklet entitled “The Truth About the Conservancy Law of Ohio” was prepared and many copies were distributed. People were urged to examine the plans, which were placed at the engineering office where an engineer was always ready to explain them.
The conscientious effort of the Conservancy to keep the people properly informed was the great factor in finally winning the respect and confidence of the people. This overcame the opposition which had been founded on misleading statements and misrepresentations.
All of us who live in the Miami Valley can well be proud of those who put up such a brave fight in the face of so much opposition. They supported an undertaking that will not only enable the valley to live in peace but will stand forever as a remarkable feat of engineering skill.
THE RIVER IMPROVEMENT PLAN AND WORK
“Men may come and men may go, But I go on for ever.”
Many years ago in the glacial period, the Miami River filled the entire valley which now bears its name. As the ages advanced and as the volcanic action of the earth, together with the movements of the great glaciers of that period ceased, the mighty stream was slowly but surely losing its strength and volume, until today only a puny descendant of a mighty river survives bearing the name of Miami.
Even to this day, at certain times of the year, the Miami swollen by excessive rains tries to fill her prehistoric banks. This was the situation that the Miami Valley faced at the time of the 1913 flood. It was not until that time that the people of the valley awoke to the fact that something must be done to insure the prosperity of their cities and farms. Although many floods were experienced by the people of this region in years gone by none of them was as disastrous as the last one. The geological formation of the valley lent its unwelcome aid to the flood, but the river channel itself played a very great part in the disaster.
Before this time the citizen of the valley had taken one step toward protecting themselves, that of building levees. This was not sufficient. Each year for many years when the waters were high great amounts of gravel and sediment were carried into the swift current. Sometime this gravel was deposited upon farm lands, making them practically useless. Again the sediment was rich which strengthened the soil upon which it was deposited. Although some of the sediment carried in the current was deposited upon the higher lands much was left in the river channel. As years went by the river had to overflow in order to accommodate the volume of water which was hindered in its progress by the great impeding masses of gravel formed during all these years.
The Morgan Engineers realized the necessity for the removal of these hindrances when called upon at the time of the 1913 flood. Under the direction of Chief Engineer Morgan a plan was presented and adopted for river improvement along with other engineering plans. The river was to be deepened, dredged, and broadened at certain points, chiefly at Dayton, Hamilton, Piqua, and Troy. The earthen levees were to be strengthened and in some places these levees were to be replaced by entirely new ones, concrete retaining walls, and revetments. At certain points along the river they found it necessary to broaden it.
The drag-line method was to be used. The drag-line as an excavator is unequaled in river work. The Conservancy District chose this machine because of its many points that adapted themselves to river excavation. Standing upon the river bank the excavator lowers its bucket into the water, which is loaded by scraping the gravel into it and which is pulled up by a pulley system that is one of the features of the machine. In this way a great amount of labor and time is saved. If the steam shovel were used at this point of excavation, a means of getting the gravel already excavated from the river would be necessary. Of course the drag-line can not reach entirely across the river but by means of its own power the machine crosses the stream. As the drag-line descends into the river it scrapes together a foundation of gravel upon which a lumber mat is placed in order to insure stability. As the gravel is excavated to the desired depth another foundation is made and the machine, by sinking its bucket into the river bed, pulls itself onto it, in turn removing the old foundation. By this method the stream is crossed by the machine without the help of any other power than its own. As most of these excavators are operated by electricity, the coal problem is evaded. This motive power is supplied by the Dayton Power & Light Co.
The surplus gravel excavated from the river and not used by the Conservancy District was sold to the public at the current market price. This proved a success and a good profit was realized by the District. Before the gravel could be sold to the public it had to be graded according to size. This called for a gravel washing plant. The District established one and used it for grading the gravel both for sale and for its own use. This plant was established just above the Third Street bridge at this point was so situated that the gravel was readily accessible. Two large cranes supplemented by two drag-lines supplied the means of moving the gravel from the river bed to the ground and from the ground to the summit of the incline of the washing plant proper.
In the great amount of machinery used by the District, which included gravel washers, electric engines, concrete mixers, and barges, the steamboat, Dorothy Jean, Dayton’s short-lived merchant marine, enjoyed a busy, active life. This worthy craft was built by the Miami Conservancy District in the early stages of river improvement. It was built for river purposes only and is undoubtedly the first steamboat to sail upon the Miami.
In the course of construction of retaining walls a stationery concrete making plant was established just east of the Conservancy Building on East Monument Avenue. Concrete blocks and slabs were made here by the hundreds for use in the construction of revetments and concrete walls. The gravel used in making these products was supplied from the gravel washing plant at no expense to the Conservancy District except that of transportation.
Many heavy barges to carry gravel were needed by the District which got busy and made dry docks in the river by throwing up mounds of earth near the bank, then pumping the water out. The barge would be left suspended upon heavy trussel works, having been previously floated into the enclosure before the water was pumped out.
THE DOROTHY JEAN
A capital ship for the river trip
Was the blithesome Dorothy Jean;
No wind that blew dismayed her crew
Or troubled the captain keen.
It has not been quite two years since the writer saw, while crossing the Herman Avenue bridge, an interested group of people surrounding a wooden structure that was just assuming form. As yet none of the group seemed to know definitely what it was. They knew only that it was being built by the Miami Conservancy District. A few weeks later this same structure slid easily into the Miami River and was thereafter known as the Dorothy Jean. She was a trim little craft and showed she was built for strength.
The Dorothy Jean was built by the Miami Conservancy District for conservancy work only. It was constructed in the regular steamboat fashion, having an engine room, together with a small cabin and another small room. A sharp whistle announced the arrival of the only steamboat that ever sailed the Miami River. She was named for the small daughter of one of the Conservancy officials who was instrumental in the construction of the craft.
During her short, active life the Dorothy Jean pushed countless numbers of tons of gravel and sediment up the Miami to some other point along the Conservancy District. On summer days when the heat was almost unbearable the Dorothy Jean could be seen puffing her way slowly up stream, never once faltering in her task.
During the month of February, 1921, the same Dorothy Jean, who so proudly had sailed the Miami, lay a mere shell near the Third Street bridge, her cabin torn away, her engine removed and in every way completely dismantled, she lay waiting for some one to come and purchase the remainder of her once energetic hulk.
Without a doubt she has the distinction of being the only steamboat that ever plied her way up the Miami. Would not the dark-skinned inhabitants of this region two hundred years ago have been terror stricken if they had met this demon of fire and smoke while paddling their way across the river in their birch-bark canoes?
Even though she was small, Dorothy Jean made her presence known by her shrill whistle and by her clouds of smoke that seemed impossible to issue from such a small source. Alas, no more will Dayton be glorified as a center of maritime activity. Few people know or have ever heard of this valiant little vessel that lived, flourished and was at last so ruthlessly dismantled. It is one object of this article to let the world know that Dayton can boast of steamboats as well as of airplanes and cash registers.
THE ENGLEWOOD DAM
Located on the Stillwater River, about nine miles northwest of Dayton, is the largest of the Conservancy dams. Its highest point from the bottom of the river bed is 122 feet, while its length is 4716 feet. It has been estimated that the reservoir will hold in storage 209,000 acre-feet of water. One acre-foot is the amount of water sufficient to cover an acre of land one foot deep.
It is this storage of water, which represents the action of the retarding basin in holding back the onrush of water from the cities and valley below, which is the main flood control element.
The water that is held in the basin gradually escapes through the outlet conduits in the dam.
These conduits, which are of a size in harmony with the other Conservancy dams, are estimated to be able to carry the water of a flood forty per cent greater than that of 1913, so that it can be safely carried by the improved channel down stream.
A rock foundation is the most desirable condition for the building of a masonry conduit through an earth dam. Fortunately this was the case at all of the proposed dam sites, as was discovered by boring investigations.
The outlet structure of the Englewood dam is 1060 feet in length, of which 709 feet is a double-barreled covered conduit. In the sides of the conduits the concrete is from 18 inches to 3 feet thick and the crown of the arch is between 15 inches and 27 inches thick. Each conduit has an inside width of 13 feet and a depth of 22 ½ feet. However, this will not be the permanent depth. The bottom will be filled with compact gravel upon which the concrete floor will be laid. This will reduce its depth to 10 ½ feet. The chief reason for leaving it deeper at present is because it would be undesirable to use the full retarding effect until the dams are strong enough so that there would be no danger from overtopping.
Wherever the surfaces of the conduits were to be exposed to the water they were given a smooth surface. This was not done for appearance, nor to give a maximum discharge of water, but simply to prevent any of the water from taking even the slightest foothold and thus causing erosion. Permanence of this kind has guided the construction throughout. It can be realized how necessary this is when it is considered that a velocity of 60 feet per second or over forty miles per hour will be attained by the water passing through the conduits.
In order to reduce the velocity of the water to one which could safely be carried in the river channels, the outlet end of the conduit discharges into a flaring basin, the bottom of which is formed of concrete steps down which the water will cascade and at end of which are two concrete weirs, or walls, which partially destroy the tendency of the water to rush on in a destructive course. By the time the water has passed through this stilling basin its speed has been reduced to a velocity of 6 feet per second, a reduction of 90 per cent. In order to admit the flow of water into the conduits as easily as possible, the upstream end is a funnel shaped with the inlet into the covered conduits rounded to an easy curve.
The excavation on the outlet works was done by means of a large steam drag-line excavator equipped with an 85-foot boom and a 5-yard bucket. In this manner 8,000 cubic yards of earth and 58,000 yards of rock were excavated during the time from May 10, 1918 to November 13, 1918.
Hand quarrying methods were used to make the rock perfectly smooth for the surface foundation of the conduits.
Concreting was begun at Englewood August 10, 1918, and was finished June 7, 1919. Nineteen thousand cubic yards were placed during this time. One fact which aided the rapid completion of the concreting was the unusually mild winter, which enabled as much work to be done during the winter months as was done during the summer ones.
Great pains were taken that the cement used should be of a very good quality. A standard brand was used which had been tested by a well reputed laboratory.
The draglines sending material to the dam and also a smaller dragline operating solely for this purpose furnished sand and gravel which were carried into the screening plant in 12-yard cars and separated into three sizes, two of gravel and one of sand. These were stored in overhead bins whence by gravity they flowed to the concrete mixer. The mixed sand and gravel then was loaded into steel cars of one cubic yard capacity which were hauled by a gasoline locomotive on narrow gauge tracks laid alongside the conduits, to the place of depositing. The mixture was then thrown into chutes through which it was carried by gravity into place. Here the soft mixture of concrete was manipulated by spading gangs so as to expel the surplus air and water that it might have the greatest chance of consolidation.
The sand and gravel entering into the concrete was given particular attention. A sample of sand was taken from the mixer each day and sifted through sieves of standard openings in order to ascertain the proportion of the various sized grains. The gravel was also subject to this test daily in order to see that it was free from dirt.
The adjustment of the amount of cement used in the concrete for the various parts of the structure was carefully watched.
The concrete used for the parts of the construction which would require greater strength and wearing quality than others was given a great amount of cement. An additional amount of cement was added to the concrete to be used for such parts as the face of the walls the entrance and the outlets of the conduits, which will be filled with water during the greater part of the year.
The chief reason for this is the alternate freezing and thawing of the surface water which in time will cause disintegration at that point. Thus it is more necessary to use materials with great weather-resisting qualities at those places than elsewhere.
As the cement is the most expensive ingredient entering into the mixture, it will be realized that it should not be used in unnecessary quantities but enough to give the concrete at the various parts of the construction the desired strength.
THE GERMANTOWN DAM
The Germantown Dam is located on Twin Creek about 16 miles southwest of Dayton, and is designed to aid in the protection of the cities of Middletown and Hamilton, and the lower Miami Valley below the mouth of the creek. With a flood similar to one of 1913 the area submerged in the retarding basin behind the dam will be 2950 acres, the water stored will be 73,000 acre feet, and the maximum discharge from conduits 9300 cubic feet per second. The dam is 1210 feet long, over 700 feet thick at the base, and 100 feet above the general level of the valley floor.
The two conduits which pierce the base of the dam are 546 feet long, built in one structure side by side. Thus either one can be closed for examination or repair while the other remains in use. Each conduit is 9 feet wide and 12.3 feet high. The spillway, built to safeguard the structure against extreme floods, is a separate structure several hundred feet north of the dam. Excavation for the conduits was carried into the solid rock formation on the valley floor a little north of the creek. The excavation was begun at the down-stream end and carried on simultaneously with the concreting, the dragline keeping well ahead of the latter operation. Part of the excavated material was suitable for incorporation into the earthen structure of the dam and was deposited by the dragline in its final place.
The revolving grizzly was installed. This is a heavy rectangular sieve through which the material for the earth portion of the dam is sifted. All stones larger than six inches square are carried by the moving bars to a platform beyond the grizzly, where they were broken or cast aside. All the smaller stones mixed with water, drop through the grizzly into the sump, whence the dredge pump sends them to the dam. A guy derrick was used to remove the oversize stones and also lift out the electric motors when threatened by flood. The completed dam embankment is 110 feet high above the old stream bed.
Germantown has its park and school, too. The school was pleasantly located in the edge of the woods on the hill just above and overlooking the camp.
THE STUCTURE OF THE TAYLORSVILLE OUTLET WORKS
The concrete outlet structure of the Taylorsville Dam is 241 feet wide, 111 feet high, and 628 feet long, containing 55,000 cubic yards of concrete.
The entire flood flow of the Miami River, equal at the spillway level to 53,000 cubic feet of water per second, must pass through four conduits. The piers are 11 feet wide and about 110 feet in extreme length. The four conduit openings formed by the side walls and the piers are 15 feet wide and 40 feet long with a total height of 19 feet, 2 inches.
When completed this massive concrete cross dam will extend from wall to wall of the valley. It will rest on three piers and the side shelves, roofing the four conduit openings through which the river will pass. The rest of the space will be blocked up to a point a little below the notches which appear at the wall summits. These notches are the abutments of a concrete bridge which will span the openings between the walls. Over this will pass the National Highway in its new location. The floor of this bridge will be even with the top of the walls. The space beneath the bridge and between the walls will be the spillway channel which will carry the excess water of any extreme flood that might top the earth embankment of the day. However, as a flood 40 per cent larger than that of 1913 will be more than 17 feet short of reaching the crest of the dam, the probability is that water will never go over the spillway. To top the dam itself will take a flood double that of 1913.
The flood discharge of the Miami River at Taylorsville in 1913 was 127,300 cubic feet per second, which the new outlets would reduce o 51,000. If a great flood should ever occur the discharge of the water through the Taylorville outlets would be an impressive spectacle. The water, equal to 1,675 tons or about the mass of a twenty-five car freight train, and this amount of water would be rushing through the conduits every second at a speed of 33 miles per hour. It would be dashing itself into a standing wave of lathering foam 20 feet or more in height in the massive concrete basin prepared to receive it at the outlet end.
The original estimate of this was $9.47 per cubic yard of concrete as an average for the several classes of the material placed. The $9.57 was divided into $2.87 for the cement and $6.60 per cubic yard for the remaining items. The actual cost has been $10.00 per cubic yard.
THE FOUNDATIONS OF THE LOCKINGTON OUTLET WORKS
The conditions of rock occurrence at Lockington were quite different from those of any other dam. The rock is of the Silurian period, comprising rocks of the Springfield, Dayton and Osgood series. The layers are all of hard limestone from 4 to 18 inches thick. The material is also much finer than that of the Cincinnatian formation permitting its use as plum stones in the concrete or as rip-rap on the slope of the outlet channel below the dam.
The outlet is located a few hundred feet east of the Loramie Creek where bed rock occurs at a favorable elevation for the foundation. This location was unusually favorable because there had been very little weathering of the upper rock layers, the depth being about 20 feet below the surface. This rock was so solid that the concrete could be deposited directly upon it. In no case did more than a foot or foot and a half of loose rock have to be removed to reach a solid foundation.
The Conservancy Park System, recently established by the Board of Directors, is the happy by-product of the flood prevention work. The District retains ownership and control of the lands adjoining the dams and strips of land along the rivers. These are to be made into beautiful public parks. At present they are just recreation grounds for the people of the valley. The notable features will be the lakes. They occur in connection with the necessary excavation to obtain material for building the dams, which are to be partly of earth.
The total amount of earth needed for the Englewood dam will be 3,500,000 wagon loads. The lake will be three-fourths of a mile long. Its area will include 100 acres and will have a shore line of six or seven miles. In this lake will be a beautiful and interesting feature in the shape of what is virtually an island, connected with the mainland on the northeast by a peninsular strip, along which a roadway will be constructed, permitting visitors to drive directly to the island.
A discussion of the park system naturally leads to the consideration of trees on the reservation. The State of Ohio has 129 varieties of native trees. The Conservancy has more than 80 distinct species. All of these can be found in the Conservancy Reservations. The parks will be a museum for the botanical student such as few of our states have.
It should be noted in regard to the individual parks of the proposed system, that each has features which make it different from the others, and give it an interest of its own. At Germantown there will be a high bank, with fine trees in great varieties on the south side of the valley which will extend for a mile above the dam. Between the banks there will be a narrow lake one-half mile in length, stocked with bass and trout, where the fisherman can get back to the wild.
Brooks, with sources in spring water which will never grow dry, will come down the hill slope on each side, through masses of redbud, dogwood, wild apples and other shrubs. The Germantown Park will be made unique, a bit of real primeval wilderness hidden among farms.
A road is planned to be built along the west bank of the Stillwater, extending the entire length of the reservation, where tourists from all over the United States may come and see this great work of the Miami Conservancy. The water foaming down the rock above the dam will make a picturesque addition to the landscape.
At Lockington, all the land around the dam which the Conservancy now owns, will be retained. This includes the wooded bluffs. The park area is compact and includes a lake which will be very small.
At Taylorsville, the reservation will include all the land acquired by the Conservancy south of the National Road, a strip nearly two miles in length. North of the National Road the reservation continues as a strip bordering the river, along which a road is planned, for a distance of about four and a half miles. The meadows, woodlands and valley slopes will be most attractive.
At Huffman the lake will be larger than anywhere else except at Englewood. The Huffman Park will exhibit the character of a broad level expanse of wood and meadow. There will be a lake at its center with high wooded slopes rising to the north and south, inclosed on the west by the grass covered sides of the dam embankment.
One of the most interesting features of the lake-park system, at least to boys, will be the big concrete swimming pool just below the dam embankment. This pool is to be a place where all the boys and girls of the neighboring towns can come and enjoy themselves. These are the hydraulic jump pools of the outlet structure and are essential features of the flood prevention planned.
THE HUFFMAN DAM
The Huffman Dam is being built across the Mad River valley about six miles northeast of Dayton. It is an earthen dam with a concrete outlet structure for passing the flow of the river.
There were several obstacles to be overcome before the construction of the dam began. They had little choice of locating a dam across the Mad River valley. Every site that was chosen for a dam involved interference with railroads and highways. The Huffman site, despite the interference of hills and railroads, was found to be most advantageous of all. As finally planned its north edge projected into the channel of Mad River. Its center line, coincided nearly with that of the Big Four Railroad tracks, and its south wall came about where the Ohio Electric railway was located. The problem, therefore, consisted of raising and shifting these lines of communication so as not to interfere with the dam and also elevate these lines through the basin high enough to prevent their being inundated by back water in time of floods. But the railroads, which were limited to prescribed ruling grades, presented a more difficult problem.
The relocation of the railroads has required the placing of the two main roads, the Big Four and the Erie, side by side, on one road bed, commencing at the yards in East Dayton. They are taken through a cut in the hill just south of the end of the dam, the north side of this cut forming a barrier to the backwater. Where the railroads emerge from this cut into the basin above the dam, they are protected against flooding by a levee on each side of the road bed for a distance of about two miles up the valley to a point where the road reaches an elevation above flood water. The railroads then continue along the south edge of the basin until they join their former location at Enon, fifteen miles northeast of Dayton. The north levee was made to serve also as a road bed through the basin for the Ohio Electric Railway.
At Huffman, as at other dams, one of the main features to be built was the concrete outlet structure. The design of the Huffman structure is similar to the one built at Lockington. The Huffman structure, however, is much larger than the one at Lockington and it has three conduit openings instead of two.
THE CITIZENS’ ATTITUDE TOWARD THE CONSERVANCY
There have always been and always will be a few people who say, “What’s the use?” when really big things are undertaken and the Miami Conservancy is no exception to the rule. But we must take into consideration the fact that the people who talk in the way usually do not know whereof they are speaking. At first many people were dubious about the project. They thought that if there were to be floods nothing could stop them. These ideas have been erased through the work done by the Conservancy. People have begun to think differently and today practically everyone is greatly interested in the work.
They stand about in groups to watch the dredges work. They comment favorably on the finished work. On nice Sunday afternoons hundreds of people drive out to the dams and show their out-of-town friends what an enterprising community we have.
Two or three years ago at the first signs of high water people began moving their furniture upstairs. Now they peacefully go on with their work, merely pausing to read the weather man’s report morning and evening.
In January, 1921, the water began to rise caused by heavy rains. The river rose higher and higher, but the people were not alarmed in the least. This proves that the citizens of the Miami Valley believe in the Conservancy. They believe that the valley is free from floods for all time.