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Miami Conservancy District Court Report

Miami Conservancy District Court


Informal Supplementary Report submitted by

Col. E. A. Deeds

President, Board of Directors

The Miami Conservancy District

December 11, 1944


Informal Report To the Miami Conservancy District Court

By Colonel Deeds


May it please the Court:


            The operation of the Miami Conservancy District is under the jurisdiction of this Court. The Directors of the district are its appointees and accountable to it. From time to time they submit formal written reports. It was suggested by Mr. Frank that it might be worth while at this time to supplement our formal report with an informal discussion. In response to that suggestion, I am privileged to appear before you.

            After having lived for over thirty years with this great project, and having been present and taken part in every important conference that has had to do with it, it will be difficult for me to avoid reminiscence. Let us hope, however, that I shall be able to keep within a tolerable limit of time.

            Before coming to the main subject, I will review briefly a few of the many events which come before me in retrospect.

            First come to mind the agonizing days of March, 1913, when the flood water swept down the Miami Valley, leaving in its wake a scene of desolation which should always be the back drop on the stage whenever the story of Conservancy is being portrayed. Three hundred sixty-one lives were lost. Over $66,000,000 property damage was incurred.

            As soon as the flood waters receded, men and women of the community, from one end of the valley to the other, returned to their homes or businesses and courageously began rehabilitation. This recalls a scene which was more or less typical in every community and which took place in the Dayton Club, where a hundred or more citizens in rubber boots had gathered. Someone proposed that $250,00 be raised in the emergency. Adam Schantz leaped to his feet, took off his coat, then his vest, and said: “I never made a speech in my life.” With that preface, he held forth for half an hour. It was not a literary gem, but it was the most eloquent and stirring speech we had ever heard. He proposed a fund of not less than $2,000,000. With that inspired vision and Mr. J. H. Patterson’s leadership, the Dayton Flood Prevention Fund of $2,160,000 was raised. The only thought at that time was to use this fund to protect Dayton. No one then realized the vital part it was to play in the development of the project.

            Dayton organized a Flood Prevention Committee. Other cities and communities did likewise—all purely local steps born of the instinct of self-preservation. Such independent efforts, developing throughout the Valley, would have resulted in local, inadequate, unrelated works, making for a far greater disaster when the next flood came. To forestall such a situation, the Miami Valley Flood Prevention Committee was promptly organized, composed of leading citizens from each community. The Dayton Flood Prevention Committee offered to make, without cost, a complete survey and suggest a plan of protection for every community. This offer was accepted by the Miami Valley Flood Prevention Committee and work was started immediately. The entire cost of surveys, plans, and other expenses incurred up to the time the district was organized, was paid from the Dayton Flood Prevention Fund. I would not have gone so much into detail about this fund except for that the fact that without it the Miami Conservancy District might not be in existence today.

            One of the most outstanding features in the development of this project was the co-operation of an entire watershed. Without this fund, which made possible immediate valley-wide action, such co-operation would probably never have been obtained. Later when the Miami Conservancy Distract was organized and in fund, it purchased the plans, research studies, specifications, and equipment from the Dayton Flood Prevention Committee. This purchase money was refunded to the original subscribers, each one of who received 93% of his subscription.

            During these formative stages, many dramatic political scenes were enacted. As always happens, opposition developed. Based mostly on misinformation, it was fanned into fury. Meetings were held up and down the Valley. Many of them were stormy. Open hearing were held before join meetings of the Legislature in the State House at Columbus. Local governmental agencies were jealous of their authority, and naturally and properly so. To them it was as if the last thing the Creator did was to take his pencil and sketch in our county, township, and city boundaries. The flood waters failed to recognize these pseudo-sacred limitations and relentlessly followed the contour lines.

            The financial provisions of the Conservancy Act were wise and adequate and deserve a place in this review, but our time will permit only this short reference. However, I would beg your indulgence in relating an interesting personal experience incident to the selling of the first bond issue. After negotiating the sale in New York, the purchaser made as a condition that approval of the Secretary of the Treasury in Washing be secured. World War I was on and bond issues were practically prohibited. Mr. Frank Vanderlip consented to present me to the Secretary at some convenient time. After anxiously waiting for days, the call came at the beginning of a Thanksgiving dinner of which I never partook. We met at Secretary McAdoo’s home. I made poor progress in presenting my case and was being derailed by the statement that he would not give approval without Congressional consent. I countered by stating that more than half a million men and women in the one-stricken Miami Valley were anxiously awaiting the outcome of this interview. The word “voters” was never uttered, but it appeared inferentially and interest in the cause was suddenly awakened. After a long discussion we decided that an exchange of carefully prepared letters could be made and thus avoid the necessity of a Congressional sanction. The letters were exchanged. The Secretary’s interest in the project continued through to its completion. He even permitted the use of his letter in the bond circular. The sale was promptly consummated and the Miami Conservancy District was in funds. 

            Our entire time this morning could be devoted to the history of the Conservancy Act. May we pause a moment and pay tribute to Arthur E. Morgan, the engineer; John A. McMahon, the constitutional lawyer; and Judge Horace S. Oakley, of Chicago, the bond attorney, for this masterpiece. Included also must be The Honorable James M. Cox, then Governor of Ohio, who guided the enactment of the law without change. When the law was being formulated one of the most important questions to arise was where to place final jurisdiction over the District. The final decision was that its future would be most secure if under the jurisdiction of the Court of Common Pleas. This decision then led to the creation of the Conservancy Court comprised of nine judges, just as it is today. After the enactment of the law, the District started on its long, and at times exciting, journey through the courts. The hearings on the adoption of the plan started in Memorial Hall before an audience of two thousand people from up and down the valley. It was some days before the people realized that the members of the Court were sitting in a judicial and not a legislative capacity. The time consumed before the Common Pleas, Circuit, Ohio Supreme, and United States Supreme Courts gave the engineers an opportunity to make more thorough studies than an impatient public would otherwise have tolerated.

            Great credit is due to the courts. From the very beginning they all assumed a constructive and most helpful attitude toward this project.

            A word should be said about the painstaking, through, and laborious work of the appraisers. Over 60,000 pieces of property were appraised—45,000 for benefits and 15,000 for damages, easements, or purchase. Months of time were devoted to this vitally important work. The total appraisal of benefits was to form the basis against which the assessments were to be levied. The total of the appraisal roll as finally submitted to the Board of Appraisers was $78,083,247. The cost of easements, purchases, and damages amounted to $8,077,787.

            The full co-operation of the railroads and other public service corporations was most helpful. Power transmission lines and telephones lines were moved without hesitations. Fifty miles of main-line railroad were relocated.

            But over and abolve all, it was the co-operation of the people, the counties, and the municipalities of the whole valley that finally put it over. Without this it could never have been accomplished.

            I regret that the time will not permit reference to the splendid assistance rendered by hundreds of leading citizens of the valley. Men like Henry M. Allen of Troy, who never wavered even in the stormiest periods. All this would be interesting, but we are here today to discuss the works themselves. The dams and levees are the physical embodiment of the dominant purpose of the Miami Conservancy District, which is to forever banish the flood hazard from this valley. All other events and incidents, though important and interesting, are secondary to this great purpose.

            Specifically it is the report of the Board of Consulting Engineers that brings me before you. Our text is found in the last half of one sentence from the report. The sentence begins, “We find that the works of the District are well maintained and that”—and from here on is our text—“they do function efficiently and effectively at all times to the full extent originally planned.” To those of us who have labored in this cause for more than thirty years, every letter of every one of the fifteen words is golden. From the vantage ground indicated by this sentence, may we now briefly review the history of the engineering and construction features of the project.

            Our trip up and down this valley in March, 1913, showed clearly that ours was not a single problem. It also definitely indicated that the best flood control engineer available was needed at once. Inquiry led to Arthur E. Morgan. He was summoned by long distance telephone. Our trip over the valley with him brought out the fact that ours was not a local problem but on that involved the entire valley. In May, less than sixty days after the flood water had receded, Morgan was retained and surveyors were in the field, and engineers in the office. The people of the Miami Valley owe an eternal debt of gratitude to this man. He brought to this project vision, integrity, thoroughness, ability, and persistence, without which the last report of the Consulting Engineers could not have been written.

            In 1913 very little heavy construction work was being done. This fact gave access to a roster of unusual talent and experience. From it was selected one the ablest groups of engineers and construction men ever gathered together. At the very outset it was apparent that anything short of full protection was intolerable. If inadequate works were constructed, coming generations in the valley would rely upon a false security, and when the next flood came, the tragedy would be worse than the one just experienced. A full consciousness of this fact finally animated the entire organization. A realization of their responsibility to the generations to come formed the basis for the “No Compromise” attitude which characterized this project from its inception. This attitude was often interpreted as stubbornness by those who misunderstood.

            Morgan’s first request was for a Board of Consulting Engineers, consisting of three men, to help guide this great program. That was done quickly. The first two selected were Daniel W. Mead, one of the greatest hydraulic engineers this country has produced, and Sherman M. Woodward, Professor of Hydraulics, University of Iowa. These two chose John W. Alvord, internationally known engineer of Chicago, as the third member. With engineers in the office, surveyors in the field, research projects beginning, and Morgan in command, buttressed by the Consulting Board, and financed from the Dayton Flood Prevention Fund, the project was under way.

            To provide a background it may be helpful to review rapidly, and of necessity sketchily, some of the problems which arose. No attempt will be made to list them chronologically or in the order of their importance.

            “How many previous floods have we had?” was one of the first questions asked. An extended study revealed the following:


            March, 1805, water was 8 feet deep at Third and Main Streets. Inhabitants decided to       move the city south to higher ground but later reversed their decisions.

            August, 1814, levees built after 1805 were washed away.

            January, 1828, levees built after 1814 were destroyed.

            February, 1832, flood equaled 1828 flood.

            January, 1847, next flood.

            September, 1866, one foot of water in Beckel House and four inches in Phillips House.    This flood was almost as large as the 1913 flood.

            February, 1883, general flood.

            March 1897, general flood.

            March, 1898, North Dayton and Riverdale inundated. This was the largest flood previous to 1913 on which we have accurate data.


            This study clearly revealed the fact that this valley was subject to floods and that a flood prevention program was necessary. It is also important to note that the floods did not all come in the same season of the year.

            A study of the geology of the valley was made. It might be worth while to digress a moment and say a word on this subject, without becoming technical. In ages past, the area where we now are was covered with ice to a depth of two thousand feet or more. This ice sheet had crept down from the north, carrying with it vast quantities of earth, sand, gravel, and boulders. As it melted it formed great streams of water flowing in grooves in the under side of the ice. The material which is carried was deposited in these upside-down grooves. In fact this happened three times in this valley during the ice age. When the ice had all melted, it left the ridged as we see them up and down the valley and known to the geologists as terminal moraines. To illustrate, we submit chart (Page 9), which may help us to better understand what took place. At the same time we submit another chart (above) showing a sub-surface cross section of the Miami Valley from Beavertown to the Soldiers Home. This clearly indicates the width and depth of the Miami River at some prehistoric age.

            Both these references to the geology of the valley are given because of their influence on the final decision to build the dams of earth. To properly build an earth dam, loam, sand, gravel, and boulders are required. The terminal moraines referred to in the first illustration have an abundance of all these ingredients. From them it was possible to build dams, which in effect are synthetic hills even better suited to their purpose than the abutting “eternal hills.”

            The second reference indicates the presence of rock formations near enough the surface to be utilized. As a result of this study, all of the massive concrete unites have their foundations located on solid rock. The sub-surface study included over ten thousand lineal feet of “wash borings” and over fifteen hundred feet of “diamond drill” rock borings. Over nine hundred holes were made. More than two thousand samples from these borings are on file at the Conservancy Building for reference by future generations. As the precautionary measure, all tunnels were built with twice the present cross section so that a flood could have been taken through them should one have occurred during the construction and no spillway was available. After the completion of the dams the tunnels were reduced to their present cross section by back filling and paving.

            When the engineering examination of the Miami Valley was begun an investigation to determine the maximum possible rainfall and runoff was one of the first to be started. One of the initial tasks of the surveying parties was to make a record of the high water marks from one end of the valley to the other. Three engineers spend nearly a year in Washington where they were given full access to the records of the United States Weather Bureau. One engineer was sent to Europe to make a similar investigation of rainfall records. Among others, he reviewed the records of the valley of the Danube River dating back 900 years. Records of the Seine in Paris had been kept for 300 years. It is interesting to note that high water records of the Tiber River in Roman date back 2300 years. This study was the most comprehensive ever made. The findings are embodied in a book of 352 pages. At the same time, engineers were calculating the runoff which would result from heavy hypothetical storms centering simultaneously over different parts of the watershed. As a final result of all these studies, a maximum possible runoff, under the most adverse conditions, was determined. This maximum was then arbitrarily increased twenty-five percent. It would required a flood nearly one and one-half times that of 1913, to bring the crest to spillway level, which is fifteen to nineteen feet below the top of the dams, at which elevations of the dams are about 100 feet thick.

            An important factor in determining the size of channels through the cities was the amount of water that would flow over a rough river bed and around bends. Research projects were established at Dayton, Hamilton, Memphis, and Iowa City. The results of these investigations were later published in a volume of 283 pages. The formulae developed therefrom are now generally adopted as standard both here and abroad. This volume is one of ten that have been compiled by engineers of the District on various subjects, and made available at cost to any interested person. Through these volumes an invaluable contribution is being made to engineering knowledge and progress.

            The preliminary report of the Morgan Engineering Company was submitted on October 3, 1912. This plan recommended in this report was a system of retarding basins supplemented by channel improvement. This report was the submitted to the Board of Consulting Engineers. After three months of study, the Consulting Board submitted its report January 17, 1914, approving the plans. It was then decided to convene a Special Board of Engineers and submit the plan to it and thus secure an independent view from as distinguished authorities as could be secured. That Board was composed of Major General O.H. Ernst, Washington, of U.S. Army Engineers, retired; J.A. Ockerson, St. Louis, Engineer on Mississippi flood control; Brigadier General H.M. Chittenden, Seattle, U.S. Army Engineers, retired; T.W. Jaycox, Denver, expert on hydraulic fill dams; J.H. Fuertes, New York, Consulting Engineer; W.A. O’Brien, Cape Girardeau, Chief Engineer, Little River Drainage District; Chas. H. Miller, Little Rock, expert on Railroad Valuations; and Morris Knowles, Pittsburg, Consulting Engineer of Pittsburg Flood Control Authority. After an exhaustive study of the proposed plan, the Special Board submitted its report which approved and commended it.

            While the engineers had been carrying on their work, the Conservancy Law was being formulated. After the report of the Special Board of Engineers, a bill was presented to the Ohio Legislature; and under Governor Cox’s competent guidance it was promptly passed and the Conservancy Act became a law. Proceedings creating the Miami Conservancy District were inaugurated and the journey through the courts began.

            Opposition still persisted. Advocates of channel improvement as the only cheap and proper solution pressed their views most insistently. A study by the engineers of the District soon indicated its impracticability. The slope of the valley from the head waters of the Miami River to the Ohio is so great that extensive channel improvement would produce velocities so great as to tear the lower valley to pieces. Even if the slope were such as to permit the channel improvement, any extensive disturbance of the river’s habits would create a prohibitive maintenance expense for a century to come. This brings to mind a sentence from a book dedicated to the engineer of the Loire River Basin in France, which freely translated said: “This book is dedicated to M. Henri Chabal, who for forty years has been in charge of this river and has done it no harm.”

            The safety of the dams was questioned. Lists of dams that had failed were published. This was answered by describing the size of the structures and the “hydraulic fill” method of construction. By this method the material is pumped into place by larger centrifugal pumps. Boulders up to eight inches in diameter passed through them. To aid in this description, sketch of a cross section of a dam under construction is submitted (above). From this illustration it is seen that the discharged material, as it came form the pumps through the dredge pipes, was deposited so that the sand, gravel, and boulders were kept on the outsides and the fine sediment was kept in the center. A sedimentation lake was maintained in the center throughout the entire construction.

            The greatest strain to which a hydraulic-fill dam can be subjected is during construction, when the hydraulic head of the then semi-fluid inner core tends to push out the sides of the structure. To know the internal pressure at all times, heavy pressure cells were designed. Each cell consisted of heavy frames supporting a metal diaphragm to which was attached an electrical contact. A pipe was carried from this cell to the top of the construction. By use of compressed air the diaphragm was bulged out until the electrical contact was broken. The pressure in pounds per square inch of the air required to break the contact indicated the hydraulic pressure at the cell. One of these cells is presented here today for the Court’s inspection. All during construction, and for several years afterward, until the pressures remained constant, readings were taking from these cells and recorded. At Germantown, an inspection well was dug down into this impervious core twenty years after its construction. The fine grained impervious material had a consistency of putty. Probably a hundred years from now its consistency will not be much harder than it is today. I am pleased to submit some samples from the inner cores of Englewood and Germantown. These, of course, are dried and hard, but show the fine, cement-like texture which makes an ideal core.

            Because of the size of the dams, and the method of construction, they are as safe and permanent as the hills themselves; and as centuries go by they will be practically changeless. To assist in the sluicing of material from the hillsides at Taylorsville and Huffman, an expert in place mining was brought from Denver to supervise the construction and operation of the hydraulic giants. As evidence of the solidity of the dams, incredible as it may seem, the settlement at their tops after completion was less than one per cent.

            From the inception of construction, the district maintained its own concrete testing laboratory; and non but the best went into any of the structures. Building to endure for centuries sets higher-than-commercial standards. The length of life of steel reinforcing raised a question which was answered by increasing the mass of concrete and eliminating all steel from the conduits, spillways, and heavy retaining walls at the dams.

            The mentioning of concrete brings to mind the great sales pressure, on the part of cement companies and patentees of different forms of cement dam construction, to have the entire dams built of concrete. Large concrete dams have their place where solid rock is present at the ends and base of the structure. They do not belong in the Miami Valley.  

            Basing their claim on the fact that on some of the early maps the Miami River was marked navigable, the opposition sought to secure federal intervention and thus delay the work for many years. In this connection it is interesting to note that the original surveyors received several time as much per mile for surveying navigable streams as for non-navigable ones. A study of these old maps would indicate that our forefathers in this valley were probably mariners. To further emphasize their contention, a boy without an outboard motor board was arrested for operating a vessel without a compass or port and starboard lights. However, their objection was not without substance. If the Miami River were a navigable steam, their contention then would be that the federal government was responsible and consequently should bear the expense of the project. This phase was thoroughly discussed by the Consulting Board and by the Special Board of Engineers. They were unanimous in their opposition to this proposal, for two main reasons.

            First, any federal participation would immediately lead to the inclusion of the Miami Valley in the Ohio and Mississippi Valley flood control plans. Any plans for our protection would in the last analysis be compromised in the development of the more comprehensive program. The protection of the Miami Valley is more complete, and has a greater margin of safety, than would be possible if it were a part of a greater federal program. In this we were not unduly selfish. Because of our relatively small watershed, and with the peaks of floods being taken off by the retarding basins, the operation of our works would have very little influence on the Ohio and would be negligible on the Mississippi.

            Secondly, had we yielded to this opposition, today, thirty-one years after the disaster, we would be without protection; and the Miami would not the growing, prosperous Valley that it is. Prompt action was vital. For years after 1913 and until the works were completed, every long, heavy rainfall made people almost panicky. Thousands of calls came in the Conservancy office. The importance of prompt action was well expressed by one of the principal witnesses at the hearing to establish the district. In closing he declared that “failure to provide flood protection would mean the end of business and industrial growth in the valley and in this way might be a worse calamity than the 1913 flood itself.”

            There was another proposal which received serious consideration by the engineers, and which was advanced by a group with considerable following. Their proposal was to install gates in the outlets at each of the dams so that the flow of water could be regulated and at times water could be stored. Their program contemplated small storage capacity behind the dams. In operation the water might be held back in one reservoir and let out of another. This plan was discarded by a unanimous vote. No one was willing to assume the responsibility fo setting up massive mechanical devices, the method and time of operation of which would be left to human frailty during the centuries to come. If gates were installed, in all probability there would come a time when an empty reservoir would be needed and someone for some reason would have allowed it to remain full of water.

            The incorporation of our present plan in any federal plan, in all probability, would have contemplated the use of gates. The best evidence of the engineers’ position on this subject is expressed in the following words, which are carved in granite at each of the dams: “The dams of the Miami Conservancy District are for flood prevention purposes. Their use for power development or for storage would be a menace to the cities below.”

            Any such storage would be all the more hazardous because the history of floods in the Miami Valley clearly indicates that one might occur in any month of the year.

            The problem of how to control the energy produced by the discharge of the water under high pressure form the outlets became a major one. To release thousands of uncontrolled horse power would tear out caverns immediately below the dams and endanger the structures themselves. There was plenty of experience on how to make the most efficient use of such power, but on how to dissipate it there was little to guide the engineers. There was a well-known principle known as “The Hydraulic Jump and Back Water Curve” but little was known about it in actual practice. The following quotation from the published report of our research engineers is very apt and referred to the above principle:

            “In studying this subject, the hydraulic theory has seemed more than usually elusive. Perhaps the most frequent error in hydraulic discussion in general, is the very common one of applying a law, rule, or formula to a situation where it does not hold. Every rule in hydraulics is limited in its application to a definite set of conditions outside of which it may have no bearing whatsoever. This tendency to apply a perfectly good rule or formula to the wrong situation is naturally not only difficult to avoid in the first instance, but also not easy to refute by argument after the mistake has been made.” ‘

            In our project, no uncertainty could be tolerated. A hydraulic laboratory was set up to make a thorough study of the hydraulic jump and back water curve principle and adapt it to our needs. An entire summer was devoted to this problem and a complete answer was found. A volume of 118 pages records the findings. This is the first thorough study of this principle to be made. I present a diagram which illustrates the operation of the design as finally adopted. It shows how the water, under great head and full of enthusiasm, comes out of the tunnel. It forges down grade but suddenly strikes a heavy wall and is thrown back upon itself. It is confused, and in the chart it is seen going back towards the outlet and even going down hill at the point marked “back water curve.” It then starts down the valley again only to strike the secondary wall, from which it goes on its way with gentleness and humility. Water coming out of a conduit at 45 feet per second is slowed to eight feet per second. At Englewood, with the water above the dam at spillway level, 165,000 horse power of energy is dissipated within a distance of 200 feet from the conduit outlets. Since the construction of the dams, the hydraulic jump has been in operation a total of 372 times and has worked perfectly.

            Before closing these remarks a word should be said about the construction department. This leads us immediately to pay tribute to Mr. Charles H. Locher, under whose direction this great work was carried on. We early decided that the integrity of the works was paramount. Here was a situation where we must not let contracts. This was equally true of any costs plus arrangement. It was decided to do the construction by force account. Mr. Locher was selected for construction manager. This Valley will always owe a debt of gratitude to this great man for his part in this project.     

            I apologize for the hasty and sketchy manner in which we have reviewed some of the past Conservancy history. It will serve however to indicate the adequacy and permanency of the works. General H. M. Chittenden, at the hearing on the adoption of the plan, testified that “in all his experience he never had seen any project that had been so thoroughly investigated and so thoroughly planned, to which the Panama Canal was no exception.” The plan

 was completed and has been in operation for more than twenty years. The Consulting Board, composed of the engineers who designed and the construction chiefs who build the works, have been brought back every five years to review and criticize the entire project. The data secured at every flood time during twenty years has been under their continuous scrutiny. Each of the conduits has been unwatered and inspected by these men. The stilling pools in which the hydraulic jumps occur have likewise been unwatered and examined. The woks have been tested. Water has been stored many times behind every dam. The follow table is instructive:


Highest Water Behind Dam


Times Hydraulic Jump Operated


54.5 Feet

February 1929



56.2 Feet

May 1933



31.4 Feet

May 1933



27.1 Feet

May 1933



28.2 Feet

February 1929



            With this review as a background, and supported by the statement of the Consulting Board, “We find that the works of the district—do function effectively at all times to the full extent originally planned.” I, as an officer appointed by this court and representing the Directors and Officers of the District, can stand before you and state with satisfaction and confidence that this Great Miami Valley is safe from floods throughout the centuries to come.

            Judge Hoffman: Judge Cecil, I think the Court should go on record as thanking Colonel Deeds for his very interesting and constructive talk with reference to the history and workings of the Conservancy District.

            Judge Cecil: The Court is unanimous in Judge Hoffman’s expression—we appreciate this report very much.

            Colonel Deeds: Thank you very kindly. May I in turn thank the Court for its patient and courteous attention?


The following is a list of the titles of the ten volumes in which reference was made as contributing greatly to the knowledge and progress of engineering both here and abroad.


Volume I           The Miami Valley and the 1913 Flood.

Volume II          History of the Miami Flood Control Project.

Volume III          Hydraulic Jump and Backwater Curves.

Volume IV         Calculation of Flow in Open Channels.

Volume V          Storm Rainfall of Eastern United States.

Volume VI         Contract Forms and Specifications.

Volume VII        Hydraulics of the Miami Flood Control Project.

Volume VIII       Rainfall and Runoff in the Miami Valley.

Volume IX         Accounting and Cost Keeping.

Volume X          Construction Plant, Methods and Costs.


            Volume II of the above list, entitled “History of the Miami Flood Control Project,” devotes one chapter to a chronology of events from 1913 to 1924 inclusive. A reprint of this chapter is also appended hereto. Even a hasty review of it will give the reader a better conception of the intense activity prevailing up and down the Miami Valley during the first ten strenuous years immediately following the great catastrophe of 1913—the fateful ten years during which the destiny of the Miami Valley was determined.

            The entire report of the Consulting Board, the second paragraph of which was referred to by Colonel Deeds, follows. The third and sixth paragraphs of this report are of special interest.


May 19, 1944.

To the Board of Directors

Of the Miami Conservancy District,



            At your request we have inspected and examined each of the five dams of the District and the channel improvement in the cities of Piqua, Troy, Tipp City, Dayton, West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Franklin, Middletown and Hamilton, comprising the significant and major portions of the works of the District. The examination was made for the purpose of determining whether the works of the District were being maintained in a manner to insure their efficient and effective operation in times of flood.

            We find that the works of the District are well maintained and that they do function efficiently and effectively at all time to the full extent originally planned.

            At the Germantown Dam one of the conduits with stilling pool was unwatered so that we could examine the condition of the concrete. We find that the surface of the concrete thus exposed both throughout the length of the tunnel and in the stilling pool is in almost exactly the same condition as when construction was finished. Within the conduit the brush marks and the grain of the wood of the concrete forms are still clearly visible after 25 years of use.

            We find that an appreciable amount of silting and deposit of gravel is occurring in the channel of the river, particularly in and near Dayton and Hamilton. We have discussed with the engineering staff of the District the plans, including the acquisition of the necessary lands needed as spoil areas for the excavated material, which the engineering staff has prepared for the removal of the silt and gravel at Dayton and at Hamilton as soon as practicable. We are convinced of the adequacy and effectiveness of these plans and approve them. We are of the opinion that the lands to be acquired for a spoil area at Dayton should have capacity to receive about 1,500,000 cubic yards of excavated material in order to adequately cover present and future needs. The most suitable tract for this purpose, because of its size and capacity and is nearness to the point of greatest accumulation of silt and gravel in the channel of the river at Dayton, is the area lying west of the river, east of Cincinnati Street, and south of a line about a block south of Stewart Street. This land should be acquired by the District as soon as practicable. We are of the opinion that the lands to be acquired for a spoil area at Hamilton should have capacity to receive about 1,500,000 cubic yards of excavated material in order to adequately cover present and future needs. The most suitable tract for this purpose is located east of and adjacent to the river near the south end of the Hamilton channel improvement. This area should be acquired by the District as soon as practicable.

            We want to commend the staff of the District for the excellent job of maintenance which it has done during the trying circumstances of war. Constant care is needed in order to keep the works of the District in good operation condition and we find that this care and attention are being given by the staff of the District.

            The residents of the District can feel secure in the fact that the works of the District have functioned effectively during each of the floods which have occurred since the construction of these works and that with good maintenance they will continue to do so in the future.

            The Consulting Board wishes to express its sorrow over the death of Charles H. Paul who was Assistant Chief Engineer of the District during the entire construction process, was Chief Engineer from 1921 to 1924 and thereafter consulting engineer to the District until the time of his death in 1941. The Miami Conservancy District is greatly indebted to him for his able services in all of theses capacities. The consulting board greatly misses his presence at its meetings since he attended all of them up to the time of his death.

            Respectfully submitted,

(Signed) Daniel W. Mead

Sherman M. Woodward

Arthur E. Morgan

J. H. Kimball

C. C. Chambers

A. L. Pauls

Charles H. Locher

E. J. B. Schubring, Attorney.