D.J. Angus and The Great Flood of 1913

Archival photograph collections are filled with glimpses into everyday life and, occasionally, historic events.

The Great Flood of 1913 began with storms. Tornados raced across Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan and Indiana, followed by torrential rainfalls. From March 23 to 26, storm-related flooding led to disasters across central and eastern portions of the United States.

In Indiana, some areas received 6 inches of rainfall in 24 hours. The White River rose, destroying Indianapolis’s Washington Street bridge, which served as the main connection point over the river.

Aftermath of 1913 flood at Williams Dam, taken by D.J. Angus

Donald James (D.J.) Angus was an amateur photographer. He worked on the design and installation of the hydraulic plant and distributing system for the district at Williams, Lawrence County, Indiana. Angus photographed the flood damage inside the plant.

The flood was estimated to cause about 100 fatalities in Indiana alone and left 7% of the state’s population homeless. Although Angus’ photographs document only a tiny fraction of the total damage the storms and flooding caused in Indiana, they help us better understand and visualize the aftermath of such a widespread natural disaster.

White River above Williams Dam in 1913 flood, taken by D.J. Angus