Lead: In the late spring 1889 the dam holding the waters of a private recreational lake east of Pittsburgh collapsed. Johnstown’s nightmare had begun.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Lake Conemaugh was created by an earthen dam thrown up across the South Fork tributary of the Little Conemaugh River in the 1840s as a part of the intricate Pennsylvania Canal system, carrying goods and passengers east and west across the state. After the arrival of the railroad the lake was abandoned to recreational purposes, eventually being bought by the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club. Used as a fashionable private retreat by members of Pittsburgh’s elite families, its membership list counted among its illustrious names that of Frick, Carnegie, Phipps, and Mellon.