Johnstown Flood II

Lead: At the end of May 1889 the small industrial city of Johnstown east of Pittsburgh was nearly destroyed in America’s greatest man-made disasters.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Fourteen miles above Johnstown lay Lake Conemaugh. It was a exclusive private recreational lake created by a dam thrown across the South Fork of the Little Conemaugh River. The 30,000 residents of Johnstown were threatened by a dam problem. Part of the old Pennsylvania Canal system the dam had long before fallen into serious disrepair and its owners at the time, the wealthy industrialists and social families that made up the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, had done little to keep it up and had increased the threat by raising the water to dangerous levels.

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Johnstown Flood I

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.

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