Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN


January 2, 2013

Will history repeat itself?

Greensburg — A century ago, there came The Great Flood of 1913 which has been the standard by which all other Hoosier floods have been measured.

In late March 1913, the rains came and stayed steady for five days. It swept across central and southern Indiana and Ohio. Indiana rivers, including the Wabash, White, Flat Rock, Whitewater, St. Joseph, Maumee and Ohio rivers and creeks including Gas Creek and Sand Creek had flooding. Larger cities and small towns all over Indiana were overwhelmed with water.  

Parts of Indianapolis were also flooded and some bridges and homes near the Whitewater were destroyed. The most badly damaged, though, was down by the Ohio. A hundred years later, you can still see many flood markers on buildings along the Ohio. In some areas, the floods of 2008 went higher than that of 1913.

Eleven inches of rain fell in the five days. Nearly 100 people drowned. At least 180 bridges were destroyed. Damage was estimated at more than $25 million statewide – and that was in 1913 dollars.

Smiley Fowler was an incredibly talented man whose writings were printed in several magazines, newspapers and books of the era. It has been 100 years since Smiley Fowler wrote the following poem about the ordeal of 1913. It tells us that there were advantages of being “an Inland town.”

Song of an ‘inland town’ (Apropos of the Flood of 1913)

If I could write a poem like Jim Riley ust to write, If I could ketch his rhymin’ scheme in which the words unite With a movin’ kind o’ music that’ll start your sluggish blood – I would sing a song o’ Greensburg where we didn’t have no flood. The scen’ry ‘long ole Gas Creek don’t compare with Brandywine, And we’re glad the bloomin’ Wabash and Ohio, broad and fine, And the other ragin’ rivers are miles and miles away – Ruther be an “inland town” ­- kind o’ like it thataway.

A little taste o’ trouble ‘mong our neighbors, left and right, Helps us ‘preciate our home town more’n oratory might. When the trains are kind o’ backward and we’re missin’ half our mail, When the juice is off the cable and the rust is on the rail, Then we realize the blessin’s and the comfort’s that we’ve got – There may be places just as good, but there’s heaps o’ them that’s not. We hev counted all our noses and we’ve called our little roll. And there’s nary one a missin’, not a single bloomin’ soul. Now the streams are in their channels and the trains are comin’ back, And the juice has hit the trolley and the rust is off the track.

Smiley Fowler was my friend. His picture has always set on my desk to remind me to try my best to follow his guidance. He was 30-years-old when he wrote the above poem and was 96 when he died in Feb. 1980. One hundred years was before the Great Depression, before World War I. J. E. Mendenhall was mayor. There was no YMCA, no hospital in Greensburg but there were 20 grocery stores, 16 attorneys, 10 insurance agents, five hat shops, six jewelers, 16 physicians, six barbers and – now listen to this – there were only three hairdressers!

One hundred years ago, Jim Thorpe was forced to give back the gold medals he won at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden. Thorpe won gold in the Pentathlon and Decathlon. He was a track and football star at the Carlisle Institute for Native Americans. He’s been called the greatest all-around athlete of all-time by many.  

The next year, in 1913, his medals were taken away by the Amateur Athletic Union because he had played for a minor league baseball team for money. Other amateur athletes had also played ball for money in those days but under assumed names. In 1982, almost 30 years after his death, Thorpe was given back his standing as a two-time Olympic gold medalist.

Thorpe was a great-grandson of the Indian War Chief Black Hawk but Thorpe said, “I am not a full-blooded Indian. I am five-eighths Indian.” Records say he had three-eighths white blood from his Irish grandfather (married to Black Hawk’s daughter) and from his mother who was one-fourth French.

Do you suppose that 100 years from now somebody will write about Lance Armstrong winning the Tour de France seven times? That in 2012 he was disqualified from all of his wins and banned from professional cycling for life? That in 2042 he was reinstated?


Text Only
  • nei-gb042314 Spaulding Column headshot Jack Spaulding: Spring turkey hunting season off and running Indiana's 45th annual statewide spring turkey hunting began last Wednesday, April 23, and DNR wildlife research biologist Steve Backs is expecting harvest results similar to last year. Hunters may kill one male or bearded turkey in the spring season,

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • nei-gb042314-linda kennett column jpg Linda Hamer Kennett: Crate art Paper labels from 1880 to 1930, collectively referred to as "Crate Art," are a unique form of American Folk Art. Originally designed to be glued to the ends of wooden crates to identify produce during shipping, the graphically attractive labels are

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • nei-gb042314-pat smith column headshot Pat Smith: Pat's potpourri This is a Pat's Potpourri day. Sometimes bits and pieces of things that don't quite make a whole column, but are still interesting to readers and me, become a column. Roger Welage told me not long ago that he spent the first 25 years of his life on S

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • nei-gb042314-homemakers logo Eileen Fisse: Garden time nears First a reminder: Club dues are due May 1 to our county treasurer, and now is the time to register for the Home and Family Conference which is held in June. Also, a reminder to sign up to work at the fair. I want to thank those who already signed up

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Maureen Hayden: Judge Richard Young described as “careful and thoughtful in his decisions" When U.S. District Judge Richard Young recently ruled in favor of a lesbian couple seeking recognition of their out-of-state marriage, opponents of same-sex unions called him an activist judge who was unilaterally trampling the law. The label didn't

    April 22, 2014

  • Brian Howey: Doctors Brown and Bucshon become seekers Seated across the table from me at Cafe Patachou were Drs. Tim Brown and Larry Bucshon. Dr. Bucshon was a heart surgeon from Newburgh. Dr. Brown is an emergency room physician from Crawfordsville. What made this breakfast meeting extraordinary is tha

    April 22, 2014

  • Thanks, Max

    Max Dickson has given the historical society a gift that many will enjoy for years.

    April 17, 2014

  • Lee H. Hamilon: Government As Innovator? You Bet! Five years ago, the federal government spent $169 billion to fund basic research and development. This fiscal year, it's down to $134 billion. People who believe in public belt-tightening applaud drops like that. I understand why: There are many reas

    April 17, 2014

  • How to deal with nuisance wild animals Most people enjoy watching wildlife and sometimes even interacting with critters on occasion. One of my favorite activities is keeping the bird feeder well supplied and seeing Hoosier song birds up close and personal. Sometimes there are situations w

    April 17, 2014

  • Self deposit box: Wolfsie takes a selfie of his check I love where I bank. It's a branch inside of a big supermarket. I can make a modest withdrawal and then go and blow every last penny in the cookie aisle. The tellers at the window appreciate me. They know about my obsession with round numbers and und

    April 17, 2014

Featured Ads
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.