Great Flood of 1913 takes spotlight at Century Day
The Great Flood of 1913, the naming of St. John Arena on the Ohio State campus, the first crossword puzzle and the completion of the Woolworth building all occurred a century ago.
Those momentous occasions and others will be celebrated during the Gahanna Historical Society's annual Century Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 4, at 101 S. High St.
Historical society publicity chairman Wendy Winkler said one of the day's highlights will be historical re-enactor Harriet Merriman, who will give a first-person performance as a flood survivor in Columbus in 1913.
At 1 p.m., Merriman will present a historical interpretation about the Great Flood, which greatly affected Ohio. Merriman, a graduate of Bowling Green State University, is an educator of more than 30 years and is a noted volunteer with the Ohio Historical Society.
Winkler said the Great Flood is long-considered Ohio's greatest weather disaster. Levees burst throughout Columbus and Dayton, destroying more than 40,000 homes. More than 450 people lost their lives from the storm aftermath.
In addition to Merriman's presentation, tours of the historical society's museum will be scheduled, and information and activities based on the people, achievements and events of 1913 will be featured, said Christy Evans, society volunteer.
She said Century Day includes a range of topics and a variety of participants, including organizations that are celebrating their centennial anniversary this year. The Women of the Moose will share their 100-year history.
Robert Brugler, Lincoln presenter and retired Gahanna Lincoln High School teacher, will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., representing the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Address.
The Historical Settlement's John Clark House and Log House will be open for tours throughout the day.
Art Garden Studios of Gahanna will provide information on the Armory Show of 1913, an exhibit that introduced Americans to the new "Modern Art." Diamond Dance Studio will demonstrate some of the moves that accompanied the ragtime dance craze of the early 20th century, Evans said.
A variety of achievements and facts of 1913 include the opening of Grand Central Station, the first crossword puzzle, the completion of the Woolworth building, the death of Harriet Tubman, Henry Ford's transition to the assembly line and even the patenting of the modern zipper.
In Gahanna, Evans said, Cora Jones became the first African-American graduate of Gahanna's high school in 1913. Her family owned a farm at what is now Friendship Park. That land later became one of the first African-American country clubs in the United States.
The Big Walnut Country Club, Cora (Jones) Thurman and the Bronzeville Neighborhood Association will be featured exhibits at Century Day. The event also will recognize athletic achievements of 1913, such as Ty Cobb winning the batting title in baseball the same year Notre Dame's football team introduced the "forward pass."
St. John Arena on the Ohio State campus was named after Lynn St. John, who was athletics administrator, basketball, football and baseball coach and a National Basketball Hall of Famer.
As members of their alma maters' basketball hall of fame, sisters Amy and Christy Evans will participate in a "pop a shot" contest at 2 p.m., representing Ohio Wesleyan University and the College of Wooster. St. John was athletics director at both prior to 1913.
The Gahanna Historical Society is a volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the local area's history through the operation of the John Clark House and Log House museums, as well as the Victorian-styled Lily Stone Bed & Breakfast. The historical settlement is within walking distance of Creekside, along the Big Walnut Creek.
More information about the society and event is online at gahannahistory.com.