Cleaning Up After the 1913 Great Miami River Flood

Cleaning up after The Troy Flood of 1913  was a massive effort on the part the townspeople.

The small Ohio city received about ten inches of rain in March of 1913 that flooded Troy. After the floodwaters from the Great Miami River and the Miami and Erie Canal receded, it left a muddy trail.

Citizens received warnings from the Board of Health about contaminated water. To avoid diseases left behind, they were not to return to their homes until water receded from their cellar. Wet wallpaper was to be removed.

Cleaning walls and floors with slacked lime killed mildew and mold. Troy’s Mayor John McClain requested two railroad cars of lime from the Ohio governor, James Cox.

The diseases were real. Troy citizens suffered through a typhoid epidemic the summer after the flood, said to have been caused by contaminated wells. Some died of the disease in late summer and early fall.

The characters in my novella, Surprised by Love, lived through the 1913 Troy flood. They tore down wallpaper. They cleaned with slacked lime.

They weren’t alone in this chore. Many in Troy and surrounding towns and cities along the Great Miami River also had massive cleaning after the flood.

-Sandra Merville Hart


American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. S.v. “slaked lime.” Retrieved July 21 2018 from

Troy Historical Society. Images of America: Troy and the Great Flood of 1913, Arcadia Publishing, 2012.

Surprised by Love is Sandra’s novella in From the Lake to the River Collection (Mt. Zion Ridge Press, September 2018) that releases September 1st! Nine Ohio authors have written stories set in Ohio.

Surprised by Love is set during the 1913 flood in the small city of Troy, Ohio, where ordinary people courageously met the danger. Heroes are born at such a time.

Lottie’s feelings for an old school crush blossom again during the worst flood her town has endured in years.

 Lottie shoulders the burden for her siblings since their mother’s death. She also cares for the boarders in her home who need her assistance as much as her siblings. Dreams of Joe, her schoolgirl crush, must be put behind her. When the flooding river invades not only the town of Troy but also her home, Lottie and her family need to be rescued.

Desperate circumstances throw Joe and Lottie together. Can tragedy unite the couple to make her long-buried dream of winning his love come true?

The collection, From the Lake to the River, is available for preorder on Amazon!