Five days of storm, beginning with the fierce gales of last Friday and Saturday which unroofed buildings, uprooted trees and destroyed much property, and followed by three days of almost continual downpour of rain, culminated Tuesday morning in a flood of unprecedented severity, sweeping away buildings and bridges; causing a suspension of traffic on the steam roads and electric line; the shutting down of the water works and the electric light plant temporarily and doing a vast amount of other damage.
The loss in Ashland County is conservatively estimated at $200,000 and may even reach a higher figure as reports of additional losses over the county keep coming in. Ashland never experienced anything like it before in its history.
The state of the flood on Tuesday morning was such as to make impossible the holding of school. For the greater part of Tuesday forenoon business was practically at a standstill, the flood occupying most of the attention.
Late Monday afternoon, the creek, which flows through the center of the city, began to rise to alarming proportions. The volume of water was such, that it was beyond the capacity of the new culvert on East Main street, east of Arthur street and the road was flooded to a considerable depth and conditions became more alarming hour by hour as the water kept rising.
Monday night it became apparent that if the heavy downpour continued the old armory building, over the creek at Center Street, occupied by the Ashland Cleaning & Dye Works and J. H. Wilson’s farm implement store would be in great danger. Center street from curb to curb all the way from College avenue to the creek was a raging torrent pouring an immense volume of water into the flood that was far beyond the top of the retaining walls and flowed with such force that even automobiles and carriages were unable to cross the bridge.
Between 7 and 8 o’clock Tuesday morning the flood had reached such proportions that within an hour it rose five inches, flooding low ground in many parts of the city. Water was two or three feet deep in scores of cellars and in some buildings it reached greater proportions.
Old Armory Building Collapses.
Shortly after 7 o’clock Tuesday morning the old armory building collapsed and parts of the structure and contents were carried down stream. Mrs. Zoe P. Thompson, proprietress of the Ashland Cleaning & Dye works, had her dwelling apartments in the building in addition to the cleaning works and Monday evening she was prevailed upon not to remain over night in the structure which was feared even then might be carried away at any moment.
She and her three children remained over night at P. F. Sharick’s across the street. Mrs. Thompson had taken out all the customers’ goods but aside from a couple of dresses and a few other things none of her household goods or other effects were saved. Considerably more than $1.000 worth of machinery besides, household goods and other property she lost.
J.H. Wilson lost all of his stock of farming implements and other goods, to a considerable amount. The building is owned by Louis Thompson, of Akron. Shortly after the old armory building gave way, chicken coops, lumber and a great variety of debris came down stream and lodged at the west end of the Center street arch. Still a little later Scott Cole’s barn in the rear of his property on East Main Street was carried away as was also a barn belonging to Samuel Ewing, on East Maple Street.
West Main Flooded.
West Main Street for a considerable distance on either side of Broad Street was flooded and in many parts of the city the waters were very high.
The bottomlands east of the city were flooded to an extent never before seen, presenting a very realistic imitation of Lake Erie. Between Ashland and Mansfield the railroad tracks in a number of places were under water to a depth of several feet and the Blackfork was reported to be two miles wide.
The extent of the damage over the county especially between here and Rowsburg and Jeromesville, will not be known definitely until the reports are all in.
The large bridge near the mill at Jeromesville was washed away as was also scores of other bridges in various parts of the County. Tuesday morning it was estimated that the loss to the county by reason of bridges washed away, not to mention roads destroyed and various other damage done would run considerably beyond $60.000 but as additional reports of damage came in the opinion was expressed that figure would likely be too low. County Commissioner Gongwer stated Tuesday that in all probability it would be necessary to defer the Olivesburg road piking, which the commissioners had planed to do this year, as all available funds will be needed to take care of emergency work. It is likely that bonds will have to be issued to a considerable amount in order to replace the large number of bridges destroyed and repair other damage over the county.
Ashland Without Mail.
Ashland was without mail on Tuesday. The last train on the Erie to arrive here before the flood reached its height was eastbound train No. 10 which got here about 4:30 o’clock a.m. and was laid out at Polk. This brought one pouch of mail instead of the three it usually brings. There was no other mail during the day, all the trains on the Erie and A&W being annulled on account of flood troubles. It was stated that there were three large bridges out along the Erie between Ashland and Barberton. B. &O. trains at Mansfield were also laid out.
The carriers on the rural routes out of Ashland did not make their trips Tuesday, there being practically no mail to take and no morning papers having arrived.
No City Water: No Power.
With the rising of the waters of the creek the boiler room of the electric light plant was flooded and the plant had to be shut down until the middle of the afternoon. The high water also invaded the pumping station of the water works with the result that this plant also had to shut down and the people of Ashland experienced a water famine in the midst of a flood.
A train on the A.&W. Monday night was laid out near Jeromesville and the passengers, it is understood, had to be removed in wagons.
Trolley Line Troubles.
The Cleveland, Southwestern & Columbus line’s tracks were flooded both east and west of the city and there were no cars out of Ashland either way during the day.
The storm wrought havoc also with telephone and telegraph wires. Some of the Western Union’s lines were out of commission Tuesday morning, by reason of trouble at Mansfield where the flood did as great damage as it did here. Fully one-half of the Star Telephone company’s were burned out by reason of the lightning Monday night, but the other half of the lines did more than double duty. Flood troubles caused such an increased use of the lines that the day force of operators was called on at 3 o’clock in the morning.
Y.M.C.A. Basement Flooded.
There was eight inches of water in the basement of the Y.M.C.A. building the boiler room, bowling alley and locker room being flooded. The basement of other buildings on East Main Street were also flooded.
Carpenter Tools Lost.
Scott Cole’s barn which was undermined by the flood and collapsed was a new structure built less than a year ago. Dill Cole lost carpenter tools and other effects to the value of $250 and Mr. and Mrs. Scott Cole lost a buggy and a great deal many articles, which were stored in the barn, one of which was a fine cherry kitchen cabinet, which was just being finished.
Amount of Rainfall.
A government gauge at the home of S. W. Brandt, 328 Vine Street shows that from 12:30 o’clock on Monday until 12:30 on Tuesday 5.96 inches of rain fell. When it is remembered that two inches of rainfall is considered heavy it will be readily understood why the flood was so great.