Local History Collections

Collection ID: LH-296
Location: LH-296

(Description ID: 594602)

Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Library & Museums

Fremont, Ohio - Flood, 1959


Biographical Sketch
Scope and Content

The scrapbook and material related to the 1959 Fremont, Ohio flood was donated to the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center by Dean L. Morgan in 1998. Mr. Morgan was the city engineer in 1959 and 1960.

Biographical Sketch
A two-mile ice jam, frozen ground, and over five inches of rain sent the Sandusky River out of its banks on January 22, 1959, creating one of the city's worst disasters. Cresting at over seventeen feet (five feet above flood stage), the Sandusky River spilled over into Fremont's downtown shopping area, dividing the city when the State Street Bridge became impassable. Some thirteen hundred residents were evacuated from low lying areas during the course of the flood. Cold weather and a three-inch snow hampered recovery efforts. Declared a disaster area, the city of Fremont suffered damages estimated at $10 million. The following month a second flood inundated the area. The Ohio Air National Guard, Red Cross, and Civil Defense units assisted state, county, and city officials with recovery and rescue efforts. Although the city suffered numerous floods, only the 1913 flood caused greater damage. Although Fremont city officials frequently proposed a flood control project to protect the downtown area, it did not receive serious consideration until the "twin floods of 1959." Bureaucracy and a lack of consensus on the part of local residents prevented the project from becoming a reality until 1970.

Scope and Content
The collection consists of a scrapbook of local newspaper clippings (Fremont News-Messenger and Toledo Blade) and photographs of the 1959 Fremont, Ohio flood, correspondence of city officials concerning the disaster, weather charts and precipitation and flood tables. Also, an issue of The Sugar Press, a publication of the Great Western Sugar Company for its employees, devoted to the 1959 flood and its aftermath. Dean L. Morgan, Fremont resident and city engineer in 1959 and 1960, created the scrapbook in the months following the flood. Also included is a 1955 issue of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, heralding the opening of the Ohio Turnpike.

Ac. 5471
1/6th linear ft.

1. News articles: January 21, 1959 through February 17, 1959
2. Newspaper photos
3. Mounted black-and-white prints of flood damage in and around Fremont, Ohio
4. Fremont city government correspondence; precipitation and flood level charts
5. Loose black-and-white prints of the flood and its aftermath
6. Miscellaneous emergency passes (used during the disaster)
7. The Sugar Press, March 1959
8. Cleveland Plain Dealer, September 29, 1955 (Ohio Turnpike Section)