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When this dam burst, the lake that filled the area flooded into the valley.

The lake was the property of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, which featured many prominent citizens of western Pa. As you can image from their role as a national memorial, the visitor center here focuses more on the emotional side of the event, though it does provide a good historical overview. The visitor center includes a small museum and a film that focuses on the human toll of the tragedy. This film really complements the one at the Johnstown Flood Museum, giving visitors a fuller picture of the event.

1889 Johnstown Flood Documentary

This one-hour guided tour takes visitors inside some of the buildings that remain from the club and offers a great look at the ruins of the dam. While you can visit the exterior of these sites on your own, taking the tour offers a great appreciation for what the area would have looked like years ago.

The Unknown Plot where those who died in the flood are buried. Before leaving the Johnstown area, take a ride back towards the city and visit the Unknown Plot at the city's Grandview Cemetery. Here, white, marble tombstones are laid out in rows, each marking the final resting place of an unknown victim of the flood.

It's a sobering way to end a visit exploring the history and human toll of the Johnstown Flood of He has traveled and written about every county in Pennsylvania, as well as to many countries in North America, Europe, and Asia.

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He lives in Harrisburg. Many became helplessly entangled in miles of barbed wire from the destroyed wire works.

The Cresson House

It was over in 10 minutes, but for some the worst was still yet to come. Darkness fell, thousands were huddled in attics, others were floating on the debris, while many more had been swept downstream to the old Stone Bridge at the junction of the rivers. Piled up against the arches, much of the debris caught fire, entrapping forever 80 people who had survived the initial flood wave. Many bodies were never identified, hundreds of the missing never found.

Emergency morgues and hospitals were set up, and commissaries distributed food and clothing.


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The Nation responded to the disaster with a spontaneous outpouring of time, money, food, clothing, and medical assistance. The cleanup operation took years, with bodies being found months later in a few cases, years after the flood. The city regained its population and rebuilt its manufacturing centers, but it was 5 years before Johnstown was fully recovered. In the aftermath, most survivors laid the blame for the dam's failure squarely at the feet of the members of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club.

The flood killed more than 2, people in the steel-industry town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The Johnstown flood was a man-made disaster, created when a weak dam burst, sending water rushing toward the town at 64 kilometers per hour 40 miles per hour. The audio, illustrations, photos, and videos are credited beneath the media asset, except for promotional images, which generally link to another page that contains the media credit.

Johnstown Flood - Wikipedia

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    Explore Johnstown's legacy and the 1889 flood that changed Pennsylvania forever

    For example, if you live in northern California you are more likely to be impacted by a wildfire, landslide, or earthquake than if you live in Charleston, South Carolina, but less likely to be hit by a hurricane. This is because the physical conditions in each place are different. The active San Andreas fault runs through California and causes regular earthquakes, while the warm waters transported by the Gulf Stream can intensify a storm heading for South Carolina.