|Storm Total Rainfall:||6.33"|
From “Flood on the Wabash River in March 1913” by W.R. Cade, U.S. Weather Bureau Observer:
Early Sunday, March 23 readings were near normal for late March at Logansport, with a river stage of 3.8 feet and rising slowly. A heavy rain fell on March 23 over the entire district, and by Monday morning amounts ranged from 1 inch at Terre Haute to nearly 4 inches at Bluffton. This heavy rain caused the river to rise at a record-breaking rate. The river was above flood stage of 12 feet at Logansport by Monday morning, the 24th. On the afternoon of March 24, the bridge on which the staff gauge was attached washed away at Logansport. No further readings were possible. The heavy rain continued Monday and the amounts on Tuesday morning were equally as large as those the previous morning; they ranged from 2 to 3 inches. The river continued to rise very rapidly.
A break in the rainfall occurred during the day on Tuesday because only slight amounts of rain were reported on Wednesday, March 26. The Wabash River crested at Logansport sometime on the 26th at 22.5 feet (determined later). Six to eight inches of snow fell at Logansport from the 26th through the morning of the 27th, adding to the misery of the flood.
The Logansport Public Library discovered an article written by the Logansport Press printed on June 4, 1956 regarding the"City's Greatest Disaster." (Click image to see full article in pdf.)
The massive flooding along the Eel and Wabash River in Logansport affected much, if not all, of the business district and possibly 20% of the city’s 20,000 to 25,000 residents in 1913. The mayor of Logansport requested help from the Culver Military Academy on either the 24th or 25th. What follows is a brief account of this heroic service. (Culver Military Academy and the Logansport Flood from Doug Haberland, Director of Publications, Culver Academies, www.culver.org.)
In late March 1913, the town of Logansport, Indiana, about 40 miles south of Culver, was hit by a huge flood as the Wabash and Eel rivers overflowed their banks. The mayor of Logansport requested assistance from the Academy, who’s Summer Naval School possessed large cutters that could be used on the flooded city streets. (The cutters were 28-feet long, weighed about a ton, required a crew of 11, and could carry 30 passengers.) Within hours of receiving the call, Culver Military Academy Superintendent Leigh Gignilliat, several of his staff, 45 cadets who had attended the Summer Naval School, and four Naval School cutters, were loaded aboard flatbed rail cars and en route to Logansport.
Floodwaters rose to eight-foot, and the temperature was in the low 20s. Working more than 36 hours straight, the Academy contingent provided rescue services, saving an estimated 1,500 people from rooftops, upper stories of residence and buildings, and other areas threated by the floodwaters. A year later, the city of Logansport presented The Logansport Gate to CMA in appreciation of the Academy’s rescue effort. Approximately 5,000 Logansport residents attended the dedication ceremony, nearly a quarter of the city’s entire population.
Today, the Logansport Gate is the site at the beginning of each school year of the Matriculation Ceremony, as each new student passes through the gate to begin his/her Culver career. The ceremony familiarizes new students with the history of one of the most important events in Culver’s history, gain an appreciation for the heritage of their school, and recognize their own connection to Culver by studying the actions of others. As part of the indoctrination of new cadets to CMA, they also are bussed to Logansport to see firsthand the locations where cadets 100 years ago provided selfless service to others.
Pictured below is the flood rescue on March 26 or 27, 1913.
Three Corps of Engineers reservoirs (JE Roush, Salamonie and Mississinewa) provide combined flood control benefits for 55% of the drainage area upstream of Logansport, and significantly reduce Wabash River flooding in Logansport.
To update information about the March 1913 flood in Logansport, contact Al Shipe by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.