The Great Flood of 1913 in Massillon: A Pictorial Journey through the Devastating Impact of the Flood and the Recovery

The Great Flood of 1913 was a cataclysmic event that impacted numerous states in the Midwest, including Ohio; between March 23 and 27, 1913, a series of severe storms swept across the region, bringing torrential rains that led to widespread flooding. Massillon, a small Stark County, Ohio city, was among the most brutal hit.

As the waters of the Tuscarawas River and Sippo Creek rose rapidly, residents of Massillon faced a horrifying reality: their city was being swallowed by floodwaters. Homes and businesses were submerged, bridges washed away, and communication lines severed. The raging waters wreaked havoc on the city’s infrastructure, causing extensive damage and claiming numerous lives.


While the exact number of fatalities in Massillon is challenging to determine, it is estimated that the overall death toll from the Great Flood of 1913 in Ohio was around 470 people. Many of those who perished were trapped in their homes, unable to escape the rapidly rising waters. Massillon’s tragic loss of life was a grim reminder of the power of nature and the vulnerability of even the most well-prepared communities.

Damage to architecture

The flood caused extensive damage to Massillon’s infrastructure, leaving much of the city in ruins. Homes, businesses, and public buildings were inundated, with many structures collapsing or swept away by the raging waters. The city’s bridges were also severely affected, with some being destroyed. The cost of the damage was staggering, estimated to be around $1.5 million (equivalent to over $38 million today).

Despite the widespread devastation, the people of Massillon showed incredible resilience in the face of disaster. The community banded together as the waters began to recede to rebuild their beloved city. Neighbors helped neighbors, businesses lent a hand to one another, and the city’s leaders worked tirelessly to restore normalcy.

The recovery efforts in Massillon were nothing short of remarkable. As the city rebuilt, engineers designed new infrastructure to help mitigate the effects of future floods. The construction of levees and flood walls and improved drainage systems ensured that Massillon would be better prepared for the next deluge.

#1 B&O railroad engine lifted after tracks undermined, Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#3 Dolls, Menfurnishing, 10 W. Main, Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#4 Downtown Massillon near Canal and Erie Streets, Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#5 Erie Street South, streetcar, Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#6 Federal Ave. looking west. Wagner Garage, C.L. Halter feed and lime, Post Office at right, Evening Independent at left, Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#8 First Street SE looking south from Charles Ave., Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#22 Kids pose during flood, Liebermann’s bakery, Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#25 Lincoln Way looking west from First Street West, Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#26 Lincoln Way West looking east from near Tuscarawas River, Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#28 Massillon Light Heat & Power Co., Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#29 Meuser Pianos, Massillon Storage Co., Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#30 Mill Street, corner Thorne, Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#31 National Wine Co, Limbach bar and restaurant, Holzbach, Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#34 Patagonia at flood heights, Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#35 People standing by fallen train, Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#36 Railroad engine accident after tracks undermined, looking at Pocock Glass Factory, Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#37 Railroad engine after tracks undermined by flood, Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#38 SW corner Erie St S and Walnut, Massillon, Ohio, 1913

#40 Wheeling and Lake Erie bridge, Massillon, Ohio, 1913

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Written by Matthew Green

Andrew's writing is grounded in research and provides unique insights into the cultural and historical contexts of vintage pieces. Through his work, he aims to foster a greater appreciation for the value and beauty of vintage items.

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