Fairborn Ohio

Historical Society to Feature Program on the Miami Conservancy District

At 2 p.m. on January 28, at the Fairborn Senior Center, 325 N. 3rd St., the Fairborn Area Historical Society will present a program about the Great 1913 Flood and its connection to the creation of a new town, Fairborn. Many people know that Fairborn was formed from the merging of two towns, but not many know the whole story behind that.

By the time the waters of the Great Flood of 1913 had receded, leaving downtown Dayton in ruins, the fate of Osborn was sealed. Sitting on the banks of the Mad River, Osborn was a prosperous mill town populated by grand Victorian homes on tree-lined streets. A few miles south of Osborn sat another small town, much older and a bit more hard-scrabble, called Fairfield. Although neither town was directly affected by the Great Flood, the future of both would know its impact.

To make sure that Dayton would never again suffer such destruction from floods, the Miami Conservancy District (MCD) was formed and five dams were built in the early 1920s. So far, nearly one hundred years later, all five appear to be splendidly doing their jobs. But one dam in particular, Huffman, was making big problems for Osborn, which now sat in the flood retention basin of the dam. As a result, the entire town was condemned.

Osborn's story might have ended there but for a group of townspeople who got together and formed the Osborn Removal Company. Instead of watching their town be condemned, they picked it up and moved it out of harm's way—right next to Fairfield.

On January 28, Kurt Rinehart, Chief Engineer of the Miami Conservancy District, will tell the whole story, complete with rare photos of the workers' towns built at the dam constructions sites, photos of the dams being built, and the stories of the people who built them. He will also bring rare photos of Old Osborn and the Removal Company at work. Admission to the presentation is free of charge and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.