What area of the country' has not been affected by some type of
disaster whether it be a flood, tornado, or fire ? Ohio County has not
been spared. Floods have paid frequent visits to the county. The
earliest recorded flood was in 1864 followed by others in 1884, 1913,
1937, 1945, 1955, and 1997. During these times the people of Ohio
County pulled together to assist others in need. The construction of
the Markland Dam in 1962 has helped control the level of the river to
prevent a flood. In some cases, most recently in 1997, the continuous
rain throughout the Midwest meant the dam was insufficient protection
against flooding. Fire is another disastrous event that can Cause loss
of life and property. The first major fire in Rising Sun occurred in
1866 on a Monday morning. Several homes and businesses on Main and
Front streets suffered damage at a total loss of $22,900. The fire is
believed to have been caused by foul play. The fire of July 17, 1885,
left part of the business district in ashes and debris. The fire
started in the saloon of Wallace P. Hall on Popular Street. Total
estimated losses came to $39,100. Insurance covered half of the
High winds and tornadoes can also cause serious damage. This was evident in 1915 when a tornado tore through the county destroying several buildings in town and additional ones in the surrounding area. Barns and fences were kntKked down and some animals were killed. In 1948, another tornado hit Rising Sun. Again several buildings were seriously damaged, including the high school which lost its cupola and hell. School was in session when the tornado hit. Fortunately, the students had just left the room where the cupola and bell landed.
Fred Hess House, 1915. At 9 p.m. on July 7, 1915, a cyclone hit Ohio County causing major damage. According to the oldest residents, at the time this had been the worst storm in their recollection. A few cows and horses were killed, hut no other loss of life was recorded.
Gibson House, 1915. The Harry L. Gibson residence suffered extensive damage in the 1915 tornado. The house, located on High Street, had a portion ot the side cleanly ripped off, exposing the contents ot the house. The Gibson family was descending the stairs when the damage occurred, fortunately with no injuries. Harry Gibson was part of the Gibson family that owned the hardware store. The warehouse of the Gibson building lost the tin roof in the storm.
Bird's-Eye Of Rising Sun, 1937.
The flood of 1937 was recorded as the highest flood stage of the Ohio River at 496.5 feet. The United States Corps of Engineers classified the flood as 100-year flood. Other severe floods that hit the area include the 1913 and 1945 floods classified as 25-year floods. This photograph shows how high the flood came over the bank and invaded the town.
Source: Ohio County, Indiana By William J. Dichtl