Ohio County Indiana



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 damages.
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


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