Walter and Lawrence managed to survive the 1913 flood and today they watch over downtown Marietta hoping never to see such a sight again.
The names might not be familiar but anyone who has been around the Washington County Courthouse has surely noticed the cast iron lions facing Second Street who now call the 111-year-old building home.
According to Tim Marty, Washington County buildings and grounds supervisor, the lions were once perched at the H.P. Wells house down the street.
Times file photo
The courthouse during the 1913 flood.
"The house sat where the Marietta Ignition parking lot is now," he said. "The house was destroyed because of the 1913 flood and the family donated the lions to the courthouse."
The county seat was built about 12 years prior to the biggest flood the area had seen at a cost of roughly $200,000. More than two million bricks went into the building, which was designed by Cincinnati architect Samuel Hannaford and constructed by W.H. Ellis & Co.
"People joke that I came with the building, but I wasn't around for the 1913 flood," laughed Dorothy Peppel, the county treasurer who has been working for Washington County for 59 years.
Peppel was, however, around for one significant flooding event and remembers not being able to get inside the building.
"It wasn't long after I started (in 1953), there was water up to the lions' faces," she said. "We lived on Washington Street at the time and could look down to Wooster and see the water."
Peppel said that they couldn't get in the building for a couple days and the cleanup was a process.
"There was a lot of filth and dirt leftover," she said.
Marty said that tell-tale signs of the 1913 flood can be seen on the marble pillars on the second floor.
"About a foot and a half up, you can see where the water was," he said.
He also said a couple years ago some swinging doors were taken down to be repaired and rehung and caked-in mud was found when the doors were removed.
"There was no major structural damage to the building," said Marty. "There were boilers on the first floor that had to be replaced."
The building is made of limestone, fire brick, concrete and metal and no modifications have been made to the building in the event of another significant flood.
"We've got pumps and sand bags and offices would have to be emptied and everything moved to higher ground," Marty said. "And then just massive cleanup."