Johnstown Flood National Memorial


There was no larger news story in the latter nineteenth century after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The story of the Johnstown Flood has everything to interest the modern mind: a wealthy resort, an intense storm, an unfortunate failure of a dam, the destruction of a working class city, and an inspiring relief effort. The rain continued as men worked tirelessly to prevent the old South Fork Dam from breaking. Elias Unger, the president of the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, was hoping that the people in Johnstown were heeding the telegraph warnings sent earlier, which said that the dam might go. When it finally happened, at 3:10 p.m., May 31, 1889, an era of the Conemaugh Valley's history ended, and another era started. Over 2,209 people died on that tragic Friday, and thousands more were injured in one of the worst disasters in this Nation's history. Johnstown Flood National Memorial is located in southwestern Pennsylvania, about 10 miles northeast of Johnstown. The Johnstown Flood National Memorial has many cultural resources within its boundary. The historic South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club and cottages line Main Street in St. Michael, PA. The remnants of the South Fork Dam and the restored Unger House all are important in the story of the Great Johnstown Flood of 1889. The park has a visitor center and a wonderful film entitled "Black Friday". The park contains nearly 165 acres and preserves the remains of the South Fork Dam and portions of the former Lake Conemaugh bed. The Johnstown Flood National Memorial also offers visitors two trails that lead out to the remains of the South Fork Dam. One of the two trails takes you into the lakebed and down into the old remnants of the dam.




Take US 219 to Saint Michael/Sidman exit. Head East on PA 869. Turn left onto Lake Road at sign for Johnstown Flood National Memorial.