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A View of the Valley: The 1913 Flood in West Indianapolis

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Title: A View of the Valley: The 1913 Flood in West Indianapolis
Author: Germano, Nancy M.
Advisor: Scarpino, Philip V.
Degree: M.A.
Department: Department of History
Grantor: Indiana University
Permanent Link: http://hdl.handle.net/1805/1844
Abstract: This study explores the shared history of West Indianapolis and the White River and reveals an interdependent, yet conflicted, relationship between the people and the river. This relationship was part of a broader set of attitudes that natural resources were unlimited and that humans must master the landscape. From the founding of Indianapolis in 1821 until the flood of 1913, a series of uncoordinated human actions related to settlement and growth of the city took place. Despite noble intentions of progress and improvement, the cumulative effect of these actions resulted in unintended and undesired consequences in the form of a flood disaster in 1913, an unhealthy environment in West Indianapolis, and a negative identity for that community. One might argue that these results occurred because nineteenth century settlers in the Indianapolis area lacked an understanding of the nature of rivers or that scientists had not yet proven the germ theory. As shown in this study, however, the historical sources support an argument that the relationship between the people and the river dictated the fate of the river and the community of West Indianapolis, which suffered significant damage when White River overflowed its banks in the “Great Flood” of 1913.
Keywords: 1913 flood
White River
environmental history
West Indianapolis
LC Subject: Urban ecology (Sociology)
Indianapolis (Ind.) -- History
Date: 2009-02-18
Description: Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)
Appears in Collections: History Department Theses and Dissertations


 

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