Johnstown Flood of 1889


clubhouseOn May 31, 1889 the dam located at the South Fork of the Little Conemaugh river broke causing one of the greatest disasters in American history. Sweeping through the valley the flood waters destroyed small towns along the way claiming lives in the process.

After reaching the City of Johnstown the wave of death had claimed 2,209 lives and destroyed not only a city but crippled a major U.S. steel producer, the Cambria Iron Company. Days and weeks after the flood those who survived, newspaper reporters, and curiosity seekers crawled over the debris in search of loved ones, property, and a sense of place. Some of those survivors wrote of their experiences before and after the terrible wave. Many of their stories were published but over the course of time have become more and more rare. Now for the first time their stories are available in digital format.

Through a partnership with the National Park Service’s Johnstown Flood National Memorial and a Library Services and Technology Act Grant administered by Commonwealth Libraries the story of the Great Johnstown Flood of 1889 is presented.

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