The Mead monument was once the tallest obelisk at Woodland Cemetery. Today, just a few short feet away from the Mead family lot stands the tallest obelisk, that of John Alexander Collins. During a search through the Wright State University Archives, a series of photographs were found of storm damage at Woodland involving the Mead monument. On the back of each photo was written “Storm Damage July 1944.” I did some checking with the local National Weather Service office in Wilmington and found out that there was a heat wave and drought in the summer of 1944. On July 11th the temperature was 100 degrees; on July 12th the temperature dropped to 83 degrees. The local office did not have written records dating back that far other than a few statistics but stated that with a dramatic drop in temperature, it was possible that a storm had blown through.
A search of the Dayton Daily News microfilm at the Dayton Metro Library Genealogical Center on Maryland Avenue revealed a Wednesday, July 12, 1944 page 1 short article titled, “Lively Shower Brings Relief from Heat.” The first paragraph states, “Residents of Dayton and vicinity Wednesday were given at least a temporary respite from the prevailing high temperatures with the first break coming shortly before 10 am Wednesday when the city was visited by a shower which peppered down right lively for about 10 minutes. It is estimated that about one-hundredth inch of rain fell.”
Most Dayton and Miami Valley residents know that the wind can pick up in an instant in the area and knock a few trees down. Perhaps the answer to what happened was truly blowing in the wind.
Woodland Cemetery, founded in 1841, is one of the nation’s five oldest rural garden cemeteries and a unique cultural, botanical and educational resource in the heart of Dayton, Ohio as you will see as you read through this new MostMetro.com series. Visit the cemetery and arboretum and take one of the many tours Woodland offers free of charge. Most of Dayton’s aviation heroes, inventors and business barons are buried at Woodland.
Woodland Cemetery and Arboretum is located at 118 Woodland Avenue off of Brown Street near the UD Campus. The Woodland Office is open Monday through Friday 8 am to 5 pm and Saturday 8 am to 12 pm. The Cemetery and Arboretum are open daily from 8 am to 6 pm. The Mausoleum is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. For more information, call 937-228-3221 or visit the Woodland website.