Findlay Floods is an interactive documentary project that contextualizes the history of flooding and flood mitigation efforts in Hancock County and the city of Findlay. Centered on visual storytelling, it is comprised of a timeline that provides history, and video interviews that put key stakeholders in conversation with one another.
Flooding in Findlay and the northwest Ohio area has plagued generations of residents. The first recorded flood, “the hundred year flood” occurred in 1913 and was one of the worst in the city’s history. Although several floods impacted the area in the decades following, it wasn’t until 2007 that another severe flood caused great damage. Regardless of the time or flood, history shows that each time the community bounces back more prepared and eager to share experiences.
In an effort to capture and archive those stories, a team of undergraduate students from the University of Findlay reached out to individuals who have been impacted by flooding in Hancock County. The goal of sharing and archiving these diverse stories is to create an open conversation and encourage people to share how they have been uniquely impacted by the floods.
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Oxley, Malone, Hollister, Warren & Spaeth PLL
Bret Spaeth practices law on Main St. in downtown Findlay. His practice was affected by the 2007 floods and since then, he and his colleagues reinforced their building with flood gates, pumps, and shop vacs to stop water from ever reaching their doorstep again.
Dave Emsweller is a resident of Hancock County and lives in the Hunter’s Creek Subdivision. Following the 2007 flood, Dave was determined to find a solution, and after lots of hard work and collaboration, a drainage system was installed in Hunter’s Creek. This system enables water to flow out of their neighborhood and, ultimately, prevent flooding.
Farmer speaks out
Evan Jackson is a seventh generation farmer. The increased rainfall and westward expansion in Findlay has had a significant impact on Evan and on his family’s farmland. As he prepares for the future, and a possible eighth generation of farming, Evan has had to learn how to overcome and adapt to major changes due to flooding in Hancock County.
Findlay Brewing Co.
Aaron Osborne is co-owner and lead brewer of Findlay Brewing Co. located in downtown Findlay. As Findlay Brewing Company grew and eventually relocated due to flooding issues, they took preventative measures to keep their building safe from potential flooding.
The Findlay Floods project has become much more than facilitating conversations between the community about flooding. Our purpose is to archive the past, current, and future flood conversations for Findlay residents. Findlay is home to 34,000 residents that each are affected by the flooding in different ways—whether it be flooding the basement, rising waters in the backyard, drowning fields and crops, or shuttering businesses—everyone has a story to tell. As more stories are heard and more digital stories are produced, the Findlay Floods team hopes to continue listening, recording, documenting, and archiving until we expand the project even further.
If you are interested in sharing your story on how flooding has impacted you, please reach out!
Dr. Megan Adams
Assistant Professor of Communication, University of Findlay
Leah Alsept Betsy King
Journalism/Digital Media, University of Findlay Digital Marketing & Graphic Design, University of Findlay