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Surrounded by a number of rivers and lakes, floods have been a recurring problem in Licking County.

January 1959

The biggest flood to take over Licking County occurred in January of 1959. Frosty temperatures and a snowfall earlier in the week contributed to the trouble when a rainstorm swept the county beginning on Wednesday, January 21st. [1] Roads were closed because of the downpour and nearly 2,500 local families had to be evacuated from their homes. Many factories such as the Waterworks Plant and E.T. Ruggs, were shut down, and Denison University was converted into a makeshift shelter for the flood victims. At 8:10pm on the 21st, the south side dike broke and an evacuation of the entire south end of the city was ordered by the mayor.[2] Damages totaled over $1 million dollars and the South Licking Watershed Conservancy District was formed to explore a way of avoiding a similar disaster. Overall 16 people were killed and 49,000 pushed out of their homes, making it the most destructive flood since 1913. [3] A totem pole was erected on Everett Avenue to remember the flood and mark how high the water lever reached. [4]

Other Minor Floods

  • March 1898, Newark [5]
  • March 1913, Licking County, 1 dead [6]
  • February 1929, North Fork [7]
  • January 1937, South Newark [8]
  • June 1990, Newark and Marne [9]
  • July 1997, Buckeye Lake [10]
  • July 1998, Newark [11]
  • June 2008, Heath [12]


  1. Postle, G. (1989, June 28). Flooding in 1959 launched watershed conservancy plan. The Newark Advocate, p. 11.
  2. Fugate, L. (1994, January 23). Nightmare of 1959 spawned flood project. The Newark Advocate.
  3. Aumann, T. (2009, January 17). Flood of 1959. The Newark Advocate.
  4. Seymour, L. (2003, November 23). Sleep sound, Newark; totem pole prevents repeat of flood of 1959. The Newark Advocate.
  5. Floods. (1898, March 28). Utica Herald.
  6. Williams, J. (2013, March 17). Newark Escaped Worst Of It. The Newark Advocate, p. 2A.
  7. Police Boat and Autos Are Used. (1929, February 26). The Newark Advocate.
  8. Water Here Reaches Near-Record Height. (1937, January 25). The Newark Advocate.
  9. Fugate, L. (1990, June 15). Devastation. The Newark Advocate.
  10. Miller, B. (1997, August 26). Flooding becomes priority. The Newark Advocate.
  11. Mallett, K., & Williams Jr., J. (1998, June 29). Storms soak Central Ohio. The Newark Advocate.
  12. Quick rinse. (2008, June 27). The Newark Advocate.