The Johnstown Flood took place on May 31, 1889 and was the result of a catastrophic failure of the South Fork Dam. It was also known as the Great Flood of 1889 to the local population. The dam was located approximately 14 miles upstream of the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The dam’s condition was made worse due to several days of extremely heavy rainfall that pushed the dam to its limits. When the dam failed it unleashed over 20 million tons of water that killed over 2,200 people and caused approximately $17 million dollars of damage. This was also the first major disaster relief effort that the newly found American Red Cross handled. There was support for the victims from all over the United States along with 18 foreign countries that also helped out. When the flood had finished the flood victims also suffered many legal issues when trying to recover any damages from the dam’s owners.
It’s amazing how the Johnstown Flood is still a topic of conversation even today. I’ve known about the Johnstown area for quite some time since I have relatives in the Altoona area. There are many people from that area who have photos and stories that have been passed down. One of the things that’s important is for us not to forget our history – even though these floods were tragic events. Please take some time to learn more about the Johnstown Flood so that you’ll remember it.